APD Announces use of WeChat
(mobile text and voice message communication service for Chinese-speaking users)
The Alhambra Police Department is pleased to announce its use of WeChat in an ongoing effort to improve outreach to the Chinese community. WeChat is a mobile text and voice messaging communication service developed in China and is the largest standalone messaging app by monthly active users. WeChat provides text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, sharing of photographs and videos, and location sharing. The app is available on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows phone and Symbian phones. As of August 2014, WeChat currently has 438 million active users with 70 million outside of China.
The City of Alhambra is located in Los Angeles County and 53% of its current population of 85,000 are of Asian descent. 65-70% or 30,000 residents are ethnically Chinese. Many of these recent immigrants come from Mainland China and remain connected through online news and social media outlets, such as Weibo and WeChat, while living in the United States.
The police department will use the Chinese mobile app to communicate with Chinese speaking immigrants in Alhambra and San Gabriel Valley. WeChat is not restricted to Southern California and can be directly accessed from anywhere in the world. The launch of WeChat will enable the Alhambra Police Department to reach a younger and growing population that relies heavily on smart phone and mobile apps for a source of information.
The Alhambra Police Department will be the first police department in the country to use WeChat as an additional tool to reach out to the community. With the successful launch of Weibo in December 2013, the Chinese version of Twitter, the Alhambra Police Department has been able educate and help residents in their native language. Weibo has experienced a significant increase of followers from the initial 1,500 to 40,177 currently.
The increase in Weibo followers and notable increase in translation services all validate the belief the Chinese community is eager to obtain information relating to police services and law enforcement activities occurring close to where they live in Alhambra and San Gabriel Valley. Through a Weibo survey, the relationship and trust with Alhambra residents has been significantly improved.
The Alhambra Police Department will be conducting online sessions with residents via WeChat in near future to educate and answer questions.
Alhambra PD's WeChat account handle: 阿市警察局