The Rapidian

Crime in real time

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On Thursday morning the Grand Rapids Police Department invited representatives from local neighborhood watch groups to attend a training concerning a new method for mapping arrests and crime in Grand Rapids.

Due to recent budget cuts the Grand Rapids Police Department was forced to lay off the crime prevention staff person, although they were able to retain many of the community officers. In turn, the Department has adopted a new layer of transparency and immediate reporting to the public by implementing crimemapping, org. The program is intended to supply communities with up-to-date access to information about what crimes are happening where and illustrate police actions.

Accessible to ANYONE with internet access, the program is updated twice daily, with crime data from within the Grand Rapids city limits. Incidences in which there was an arrest made are represented by a series of icons and mapped geographically from a user specified center point. 

 

Here are a few things to know about the new program and a few tips. 
 

How to access the crime mapping data:

Visit the Grand Rapids City website and then go to the Police Department. From there select crime mapping on the lower left hand side of the page, stopping briefly to read the disclaimer. Once you are into the program notice that you will need to adjust your search by noting address or cross street (be sure to specify Grand Rapids Michigan as the city).  In addition, you can narrow your search to a specific date and adjust the radius of your search.

 

The program can generate reports and graphs so be sure to spend some time exploring the icons in the center of the page. Be aware that once you adjust your search data there is no need to save the search just reduced the search criteria tool to view your new results. Finally, if you are interested in receiving a daily email about crime in your area there is a sign up area in the upper right hand side of the page.

 

A few notes about the program:

  • The program is hosted outside of the Grand Rapids Police Department and was created by a group named the Omega group, based in California.
  • CrimeMapping.org costs the police department $100 a month.
  • While the program has not caught on regionally, there are a variety of police departments across the country utilizing the program.
  • Data is only up for 90days (currently the program shows from Early October until today!)
  • New reports are made at 11am and 10pm daily.
  • Police department representatives noted that addresses and locations are approximate, not specific.
  • Only crimes reported where there was an arrest made are represented on the site, unconfirmed reports are not shown.

 

For more information about the program or with questions about use contact Officer Phil Porter at 456-4684.

To find out more about community policing programs contact Sergeant Michael Maycroft 456-3356

To find out more about neighborhood watch programs in your area contact your Community Association.

Disclosure: Fair warning: the author of this piece has been involved with the Heartside Downtown Neighborhood Association for close to three years and would like to encourage citizen participation in crime prevention activities.

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Comments

I think this is some excellent meeting reporting! I didn't know that you could do this online at all. Thanks for getting to the meat of the meeting (as it were) and letting us know how it can effect us, as citizens.

Good work!

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