Police in Rome, Italy have enlisted the help of citizens in their efforts to get a handle on the endemic problem of double parking.

They have set up a Twitter account, @PLRomaCapitale, and ask citizens to report via social media when and where they see vehicles and scooters that are illegally parked. Police can then take action, and it's usually pretty fast.

Raffaele Clemente, the head of the urban police force in Rome, says the initiative is necessary to create a cultural shift.

"Sharing, such as on social networks, is needed to fight certain patterns of illegality and rule breaking, and also of crime," he told Reuters news.

Rome is one of the most car dense cities in the world with 70 cars per 100 residents. Add in its narrow cobblestone streets and a culture that tends to ignore laws, and big parking problems ensue.

So far photos sent in to police have showed cars parked in zig-zags across pedestrian crossings, and at time four abreast on city streets, leaving a very narrow passage for traffic to pass by.

The Reuters article said initial response was one of skepticism, but after police handed out 25 citations some messages of thanks were coming in.

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