This is a discussion on Tracking crime using online mapping within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Online mapping services help police spot trends in crime - USATODAY.com...
Great url but now I can worry more than I need to .
By Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY
A growing number of police departments — nearly 1,000 nationwide — are using online crime mapping services to grab data from their police reports, identify crime trends and then push the information to the public through online maps and e-mail alerts.
"The more people understand what's going on in a neighborhood, the more they can respond to it," says East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron Davis, who began using one such mapping program, CrimeReports.com, six months ago.
Crime mapping services report an increase in the number of police department subscribers:
• CrimeReports.com, which signed up its first agency, Washington's Metropolitan Police, in June 2007, has a roster of about 500 departments and 40 to 50 agencies coming online each month, says founder Greg Whisenant. Computer programs analyze electronic dispatch records and crime reports for common characteristics to create charts and maps, he says.
"Knowing about crime in your neighborhood will help you take action, even if it's as simple as turning on a porch light," Whisenant says.
CrimeReports.com charges police agencies $100 to $200 a month for the service.
East Palo Alto Police give basic data to the community through an online, interactive map and e-mail alert system. More than 250 people get regular alerts and many more visit the site, crime analyst Doris Cohen says.
• The Omega Group, a San Diego-based crime analysis and mapping company that launched a public access program, CrimeMapping.com, two years ago, has 50 law enforcement agencies on the service and 50 others coming online, spokesman Trip Albagdadi says.
"It's grown exponentially," Albagdadi says. "Police departments understand they could use the public's help."
Public interest in such information is growing, too. SpotCrime.com, which culls crime data from public records to create its maps, partners with TV and newspaper websites which provide the information to their audiences. The service features more than 200 cities and is on 71 news media websites, up from 10 in January, CEO Colin Drane says.
Police departments have always used crime analysts to identify crime trends in cities, says Elk River, Minn., Police Chief Jeff Beahen. Before computers, police plotted crimes on a map with multicolored pins, he says. Now, Beahen uses the computer maps to deploy his 31 officers more efficiently.
When Beahen faced 20 reports one morning of teens prowling the streets in search of unlocked cars to burglarize, he turned to his computer. Using a program from CrimeReports.com, Beahen and his crime analysts plotted the crimes, zeroing in on a neighborhood they expected the teens to hit next. "We caught them in the act," he says.
"There's not a cop on every corner," he says. "We empower our residents to be our eyes and ears."
"That I cannot do."
"Give this to, uh, Clemenza. I want reliable people, people who aren't going to be carried away. After all we're not murderers in spite of what this undertaker thinks."
Certified Glock Armorer
NRA Life Member
Checked Roanoke on SpotCrime - Know Your Neighborhood.
Shows no arrest city-wide from 1/1/09 to date.
Shows only one reported theft in a location where I know there have been a number reported and arrest for them made.
I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL.
I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.
Veni, Vidi, Velcro