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This viral hashtag is actually preventing vehicle break-ins

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office started the effort to reduce unlocked vehicle crimes, and so far, it's been working.
Photo: Pasco County Sheriff's Office

PASCO CO., Fla.— If you're a fan of the A&E network's hit show Live PD, you've probably heard the phrase: "The 9 p.m. Routine."

The 9 p.m. Routine means taking valuables out of your vehicles and locking your doors before heading in for the night.

In an effort to reduce unlocked vehicle crimes, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office began promoting the routine regularly on social media in 2016, after the sheriff’s office revamped its digital platforms to be more interactive and conversational. The hashtag #9PMRoutine is used on Twitter and Facebook.

Since then, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office’s Assistant Executive Director, Chase Daniels, said the routine has reduced unlocked vehicle crimes in Pasco County by 33-percent.

“The most surprising thing was how it’s taken off," Daniels said. "We created something that people want to be a part of."

Thousands of people have joined the social media conversation about the routine. The sheriff’s office’s Twitter account sends out maps that highlight where people are tweeting to let them know they checked in for the night.

"It started with 50 to 100 tweets an hour, and now we can get 500 to 1,000 check-ins every hour,” said Daniels.

Being on Live PD certainly helped get the message out, according to Daniels.

“Nights when Live PD is, on it trends on Twitter, and we try to tweet along and get through to a large audience,” Daniels explained. "Not only are people checking in across the globe, but agencies around the country and in Canada have started to market the saying too."

The #9PMRoutine has gotten so much traction that the sheriff’s office started selling merchandise. The money raised through those sales goes to charities around the area.