After months of beta testing, the public is now able to access CrimeReports.com, a service that compiles crime data on Google maps.
The free service gives near real-time crime reporting data.
“Crime Reports is the largest public crime mapping service in North America. There’s about 1,600 agencies that subscribe to this service and provide this information to different communities,” Kodiak police chief T.C. Kamai said.
On the website, people can choose what kinds of crimes they want to find out about. Different icons represent different crimes, and you can choose which ones show up on the map with a search filtering system. Clicking on the crime icons calls up basic information pertaining to the incident.
The information gives the community another way to see what the police are doing and makes the department more transparent.
“As long as I’ve been here, I’ve always heard these questions or comments from the community about wanting to know what the police are up to and wanted to make sure their tax dollars we’re being well spent,” Kamai said. “So we thought that this was a good way for us to be able to just make that information available to anyone.”
No information pinpoints a specific location or person.
“We’ve done that by design. We’re not trying to embarrass or cause anyone any undue stress,” Kamai said.
One bit of information that will be handled differently is domestic violence and sexual assault.
“We decided that it’s important that we display that information,” Kamai said. “You will come across little icons out there that are for crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence, but what we have done in communicating with crime reports is we have tried to make sure those icons default over the police department.”
The public can come in and make a public records request at the police station for more information on a particular crime.
CrimeReports is part of TipSoft, an online service that allows people to send tips about a crime to the police department in a secure way. A link to the service is on the CrimeReports page.
People can also subscribe to CrimeReports to receive alerts.
“We think this is important and we think the community will be satisfied with that,” Kamai said.
The service goes back about seven months, and traffic stops won’t be recorded.
The first year of the service is free, and Kamai thinks the price will be a couple thousand dollars after that — a reasonable expense for the value it provides the community, he said.
To use the service, visit crimereports.com.
Mirror writer Louis Garcia can be reached via email at email@example.com.