Residents will have free access to official, timely crime data through a national crime mapping website; the service is seen as an educational and crime prevention tool.
Irondequoit police have a new way to let citizens keep an eye on their neighborhoods — and you won’t have to leave your computer to do it.
Starting this Thursday, April 21, residents will have free access to official, timely crime data through a national crime mapping website, www.CrimeReports.com.
“This is part of our larger crime prevention efforts,” said Irondequoit Police Captain Martin Corbett. “By bringing real time information to citizens, we feel it will allow them to take proactive steps — simple things like if they’re seeing larcenies from vehicles in their neighborhoods, taking their valuables out of the car, locking it, and leaving the house lights on.”
Corbett said the site will be automatically updated every day and pull information from the department’s own records management system. While there is a fee to be part of the website, he added, the department is using drug seizure funds — not taxpayer dollars — to pay the cost.
Through the site, users may even set up alerts to get emails when a crime happens in their neighborhood.
Neighborhood Watch volunteers are excited about the new service, too.
“This new technology will keep residents in the town informed about crime in their neighborhoods,” said Judy DiPaola, president of the Irondequoit Crime Prevention Coalition, a kind of umbrella group for the around 20 current Neighborhood Watch groups in town.
“This website will be one more tool that can be used by the police to improve community awareness in reducing crime,” DiPaola added.
Irondequoit Police Officer James Reed, the department’s new community services liaison, said one of his goals in the position is to work on developing new community education programs.
“This (website) should be a catalyst for that,” Reed said. “I think we can reduce crime by educating our citizens.”
He can also build off the website information through a software program called “Neighborhood Central,” Reed said.
Parkside Neighborhood Watch organizer Don Wood is excited about that option, which he expects will be a quicker way to alert patrollers, rather than making phone calls.
“It (the website) gives us the ability to be much more interactive than in the past,” Corbett agreed.
Website users will also be able to choose layers of crimes they want to see. Crimes that will be posted on the site include residential burglaries, homicides, robberies, thefts, car thefts, thefts from cars, assaults, public lewdness and all types of property crimes, like vandalism and criminal mischief.
The site will also include access to information on sex offenders in the community, but will not include domestic-related incidents.
“We want to use all the new technology to keep the community involved and aware,” said Irondequoit Police Chief Richard Boyan.
Page 2 of 2 - Corbett stressed that the site is for the community to see what has happened, “not what is happening ... that is what 911 is for.”
Locally, the Greece and Webster police departments also use the same website.
“With our old crime reporting system, Neighborhood Watch groups used to get information that was manually entered, then printed out and hand-delivered once a month,” Wood said. “Now we’ll get fresh information every day.”