The Alhambra Police Department has announced it is now using WeChat,, a Chinese language social media site to improve its outreach to the Chinese community. WeChat is sed as a mobile text and voice messaging communication service developed in China and is the largest standalone messaging app by monthly active users.
According to a City of Alhambra press release, WeChat provides text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, sharing of photographs and videos, and location sharing.
The WeChat 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 said 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 Alhambra city press release stated.
”The police department will use the Chinese mobile app to communicate with Chinese speaking immigrants in Alhambra and San Gabriel Valley, “ the city press release said.
“ 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 (with Alhambra PD) from the initial 1,500 to 40,177 currently.
Alhambra PD's WeChat account handle: 阿市警察局