In the ever changing world of Web 2.0, it seems new social media platforms are invented daily. Some work, some don't, but many are worth a second look, at least to assess and determine whether they would work in what we do.
One of the latest platforms is QR codes, or Quick Response code. Simply, a QR Code is a pattern of black and white matrix like squares, readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, and smart phones. The information encoded can be text, a URL or other data. While new to the social media world, QR codes have been around since 1994, invented by a Toyota subsidiary and used initially to track parts in vehicle manufacturing.
Now QR Codes are aimed at mobile and smart phone users to deliver a message, promote a product, or offer a discount. Recently retailers like Target have embedded QR Codes in their holiday advertising, bringing users to more information about their product.
Here at the Boca Raton Police Services Department we decided to try out this new technology during the holiday season with our Crime Prevention Unit. We teamed up with the local mall and its retailers to help spread our crime prevention messages. We created posters that have no markings to identify they were from a police department and embedded them with a QR Code. Once scanned, the shopper will get a crime prevention message and a coupon to use immediately at a local retailer. After showing the retailer the coupon, shoppers will receive the applicable discount.
The BRPD plans to expand the program to other locations throughout the city. The "Be Safe & Save" campaign is a way to utilize the latest technology in crime fighting. Here's the poster, scan the code and check it out!