Winston-Salem police use social media initiative to remind people to lock their doors

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – It's a social media reminder to lock-up, before thieves have a chance to take what you own.

For more than a month, the Winston-Salem police department has started using #9PMRoutine.

“The #9PMRoutine started in Pasco County, Florida in 2016. We picked up on it in April. Thinking this was a really good idea,” said Lt. John Morris, with the Winston-Salem police.

The Facebook posts and tweets are sent out in hopes that people not only lock their car doors, but to make sure that their garages and doors at home are locked.

“We try to send a tweet every night to remind people that at 9 p.m. hey, it's 9 p.m. Check your cars for valuables. It's easy to leave a pocket book. It's easy to leave a wallet, an iPod,” said Morris.

On May 17th, police tweeted out a surveillance picture after residents called about a suspicious person pulling on car door handles at a home on Jackson Avenue.

Another surveillance picture was tweeted May 21st from the Buena Vista neighborhood, which caught two people near cars in someone's driveway.

Just a couple of days ago, in a neighborhood near Clemmonsville Road, a neighbor caught thieves taking a car from the garage across the street after it was left open.

However, despite the crimes and suspicious activity, police say the hashtag is working.

“What we've seen in just the last 4-6 weeks since we've been doing this program in a decrease in the neighborhoods that are really participating in this program and are retweeting on their social media and that are getting it out there on their Facebook pages... we are seeing these neighborhoods getting passed over,” Morris said. “Sometimes you just need that reminder.”

The department wants to make this a city-wide initiative. They are encouraging to use #9PMRoutine as much as possible along with working with local neighborhood watch programs.