A new social media app could have Wetaskiwin-area residents talking about crime and other community issues like never before.
“Block Talk” is a new app available for cell phones that looks to host community conversations in one place in the social media habitat, including crime, safety notices, community events and other topics even as mundane as street sweeping.
Block Talk founder and president Michael Murray was in Wetaskiwin to meet with community leaders to talk about the app May 22.
The meeting, held at Royal Canadian legion Branch #86, including representatives of several rural crime watch associations, the City of Wetaskiwin, the Wetaskiwin RCMP detachment and local media.
Murray said Block Talk was born from serious events transpiring in his neighborhood which he had no idea were occurring. Two years ago in his neighbour a serious situation developed and he didn’t find out about it until 10 hours after it happened.
“So that’s why I decided to take action,” said Murray.
Block Talk is a social media hub where visitors can make posts about current events using only their phone number and a user name. He said anyone can post on Block Talk, including the city or emergency services.
The Hillside & Area Crime Watch Association has been instrumental in promoting Block Talk locally he said.
The app contains six different topics ranging from crime to lost pets. Murray said false information and pranks can result in users being blocked from the app.
Wetaskiwin RCMP commander Insp. Keith Durance noted that apps like Block Talk are useful for spreading information throughout the community, but emergencies should always be reported by calling 9-1-1 first.
Also, he pointed out that fugitives being sought by police should never be approached by a member of the public. Call the police.
It was discussed during the meeting that Block Talk could be very useful locally for the city or emergency services to send information out quickly to multiple partners.
Murray said he’s hoping to get more recognition in Wetaskiwin for Block Talk, perhaps partnering with the city with information being provided on utility bills.
The app has been downloaded about 300 times already, he noted.