WICKER PARK — From burglary alerts to Girl Scout cookie sales, police are using social media to reach the residents they protect — and their following is growing.
The Shakespeare Police District is the most "social" district in the Chicago Police Department, based on the number of tweets coming from the 14th District compared to other districts that have Twitter handles for their Chicago Alternative Policing programs.
At a Tuesday CAPS meeting in the Wicker Park field house, 1425 N. Damen Ave., Sgt. Felipe Reyes encouraged residents to "spread the word" that the district can be followed on Twitter at @ChicagoCAPS14.
Since joining Twitter in December, the Shakespeare District has racked up 142 followers and tweeted 117 times, making it the top tweeter and the fourth most-followed district out of the six that are using Twitter.
Led by Cmdr. Francis Valadez, the district covers Logan Square, Bucktown and Wicker Park, as well as parts of Avondale and Humboldt Park.
Last year, police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced new communication tools to help get Chicagoans more involved with fighting crime and included Twitter among the department's digital initiatives.
In recent days, the Shakespeare District tweeted a safety alert after the armed robbery of pizza drivers and also explained delays on the CTA Blue Line.
"Blue line delays earlier because rider jumped out of rear door of last car to exit train. Suffered cut head and taken to hospital," they tweeted on Jan. 21.
Last Wednesday was "Warrant Wednesday," and included a photo of a 32-year-old man wanted for retail theft. "Call 911 if you see this person," police tweeted.
The district also gets personal on Twitter.
"Rest in Peace Det. Dennis McLaughlin, Area North/14th Dist. Please keep his family, friends and co-workers in your thoughts and prayers."
A disclaimer in the Twitter account's description warns followers that the account is "not monitored 24/7" and they should still call 911 to report emergencies.
Twitter is intended for informational purposes and not to report crime, said Liz Rios, a CAPS facilitator.
But if you see a crime and are armed with your phone, you can text a photo to 274637 (CRIMES).
Rios cautioned, "Don't put yourself in danger to take a photo."
There are 22 police districts in Chicago. These are the Twitter handles and social stats for each District's CAPS feed as of early Wednesday:
@ChicagoCAPS18- 440 followers, has tweeted 62 times.
A CAPS18 tweet: View Community Bulletin of an offender arrested for Attempt Robbery and Aggravated Battery. Visit: http://bit.ly/1eFXcl0
@ChicagoCAPS07- 379 followers, has 39 tweets
A CAPS07 tweet: Come join Girl Scout Troop #20797, Feb 22nd, 10am -11:30am @ 007th Dist, 1438 W. 63rd St, Ages 5 - 18yrs. More info call 312-747-6722
@ChicagoCAPS11- 349 followers, has 54 tweets
A CAPS11 tweet: An early Christmas for this talented young man. http://chicago.cbslocal.com/video/9611878-8-year-old-drummer-gets-surprise-gift/ …
@ChicagoCAPS14- 142 followers, has 117 tweets
A CAPS14 tweet, "Business Alert from Area North Detectives - Armed Robberies of Pizza Delivery Drivers pic.twitter.com/ccAbMLD8iM"
@ChicagoCAPS01- 9 followers, has not tweeted yet
@ChicagoCAPS19 - 15 followers, has not tweeted yet