Mike Waraich, manager of the Law Enforcement 2.0 LinkedIn group, has recently started a new podcast focused on the use of social media and web 2.0 technology in law enforcement. The penetration of web 2.0 tools and social media in law enforcement extends from community policing and outreach to recruitment, management, communication, and more. And use of these technologies in law enforcement is growing rapidly across the country.
Ever wonder where or when the most crimes in your city, town or neighborhood take place? Or what types of crimes are most prevalent in your community? This information is undoubtedly of value for law enforcement agencies and the citizens they serve, and now can be accessed by anyone on the internet.
CrimeReports.com delivers the what, when and where of unlawful acts throughout communities in United States via its homepage mapping tool. Simply click on a state, the city you would like to search, and all of the crimes are right there for you to see! You also can also view the type of crime, for example assault, homicide, theft, etc…, and when the crime took place. CrimeReports.com has found a way to compile valuable information into a very easy-to-use database for citizens to view at their own convenience. Although, the website does not have sufficient evidence to prove that it helps decrease criminal activity, it definitely “helps raise awareness and create stronger community policing programs that improve the connection between law enforcement and the public.”
How it works is a police agency uploads crime data using CrimeReports technology, CrimeReports geocodes that data and sends out an e-mail for those who have subscribed, and then it immediately displays that crime information on its homepage mapping tool. The turn around time from the data upload to website delivery is about one hour - almost real-time.
This website is a great example of new web tools police are starting to use to combat crime and integrate their communities. I will be very interested to see some of the data that arises from this technology, for example, correlations between type and location of crimes, or the times of certain criminal acts. Enough data will also show if CrimeReports.com actually reduces criminal activity as its user base grows. We will have to wait and see, but if one thing is for sure - policing and web technologies have a great potential together, and we are only on the brink…