Precinct commander uses social media app to track crime and connect with residents

Precinct commander uses social media app to track crime and connect with residents

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Hundreds of cameras are monitoring the streets of Jackson but one JPD commander is using another high tech crime fighting tool.

The veteran law officer joined community social networking apps to stay in touch with residents, learn their concerns and build relationships.

“Be that help that someone else needs when crime happens,” said Commander Obie Wells Jr.

The Precinct 4 Commander is talking about modern day crime fighting and community involvement through Nextdoor. The Fondren Neighborhood Association and others under his watch communicate on the social networking platform.

He’s been commander for about three months and after meeting with residents he wanted to do more.

“They kept bringing up this Nextdoor app, Nextdoor, Nextdoor,” said Wells. “A lot of information sharing was going on there and so I found it very interesting, and I just asked a few of them how could I join and how could I get on.”

Precinct 4 includes more than 44,000 residents. There are more than 7,000 in Fondren alone.

“Earlier this week he actually met with some residents in the neighborhood in a house,” said Fondren Neighborhood Association board member Adam Strong. He has lived in the area for 18 years.

The community is active on Nextdoor and is encouraged by JPD’s responsiveness and Wells’ willingness to join.

“It seems he wants to try to use it, to see how he can be helpful and how he can gather information and help all of us as we work to combat issues in our neighborhood,” said Strong.

Strong recently had a vehicle stolen.

“They’re doing a lot of stuff with not as many people as they would like, but I think they’re doing a really good job,” added the Fondren resident.

“A lot of times people are out and about and they’ll see stuff before we’re there, before we’re in the area,” added Wells. “Being able to communicate with the community and having a good relationship is very fundamental.”

Wells, a Jackson State University Criminal Justice graduate, comes from a law enforcement family. The Jackson County native’s father retired as a law enforcement officer.

The 38-year-old said he wanted to serve the community after doing an internship in homicide with the Jackson Police Department.

Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.