Tips from Facebook group help track local robbery reports in West Philadelphia

WEST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A West Philadelphia man has found a sense of his community through a Facebook group, on a created for residents of the area called "West Willy."

There's lots of information about the area, including reports of crime in the area. This month alone more than 15 reports of armed robberies have popped up on the page.

"There's a general sense of unease of where and when everything is happening," said Dillon Heffernan.

So Heffernan took it upon himself to help inform his neighbors, enhancing the space by creating a google map with dates, times and locations of crimes.

"I thought the map was a good idea so we could get a fuller picture of where everything is happening," he said.

It's a digital neighborhood watch of sorts. Someone reports a crime and Heffernan adds that information to the map.

All the data is gathered through Facebook and the Philadelphia Police crime state website, but what's clear is some of the people aren't going to police to report these crimes, instead of heading straight to Facebook.

"There do seem to be some concerns that whoever rob them could come after them again," said Heffernan

Southwest Detectives Captain Frank Milillo said they have seen an armed robbery trend in the 18th and 19th districts and they've felt the resistance to report from victims.

"I know they have their reasons," said Milillo. "We need people to come forward and work with us."

Milillo is also encouraging the community to attend police service area meetings for the latest information on what's going on.

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