By Kimberly Davis


Follow CBSPHILLY Facebook  | Twitter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia neighborhood is using a new tool to help keep them safe. Residents are being proactive in West Philadelphia and taking a different approach to crime in the form of social media.

“I walk about the area a lot,” said Amie Knaus. “I live and work in West Philly. There’s a lot of people to say good morning to.”

There is a lot of foot traffic in West Philadelphia. Many residents choose their own two feet as a means of transportation. But, does everyone feel safe?

“I’m personally somewhat concerned,” said Dillon Heffernan. “I’ve lived in this area maybe four years now. It’s never felt particularly unsafe.”

After reading several posts on the “West Willy” Community Facebook page, Heffernan became aware of crime in his own backyard.

“There’s been a lot of these gunpoint muggings where they all have a similar MO,” said Heffernan. “They make people take out their phones and turn off iCloud. I guess so it can’t be tracked.”

Thieves are becoming more brazen in their crimes, robbing people in broad daylight.

Well, those folks took to social media and Heffernan decided to create a crime map, combining accounts from folks in his neighborhood and from information put out by police.

“We see a lot of them right here around Hazel and 51st Streets,” said Heffernan.

He hopes to start a neighborhood watch group of his own to keep residents informed, even though the idea comes with some mixed reaction.

“I do think it’s important for people in the community to know about this kind of thing and to be talking about it,” said Knaus.

“I’m too paranoid for that,” says Marty Henry.

CBS3 reached out to Philadelphia police to find out their take on the new idea, but they were not available for comment.

Kimberly Davis