Updates to police Web site allows better look at local crime
December 22, 2009
Craig residents now have instant access to crime data in their neighborhoods, thanks to a new update to the Craig Police Department Web site.
The agency's new My Neighborhood Crime Update feature allows people to not only see what crimes occurred citywide, but residents can enter their home address and zoom in on the map to see what specifically happened within a short distance of anywhere in town.
"From that point of view, I really think it's a good tool for people in the community to see what's going on," Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said.
My Neighborhood Crime can be accessed via the button on the left side of the Police Department's homepage at http://www.craigpolice.org.
Immediately noticeable will be the Google-powered map of Craig at the top of the page. The streets are littered with different balloons with single letters that correspond to different types of crimes, such as "D" for disorder, "P" for property or "V" for violent.
By clicking on each balloon, the user can bring up a small information box with several details about the incident.
For instance, one of the balloons on the map is an orange "V" slightly east of Yampa Avenue.
One click and the Web site states the incident occurred at 8:07 p.m. Dec. 17 on the 800 block of Tucker Street, it was related to domestic violence, two squad cars arrived on the scene and they took 79 minutes to finish their inquiry.
Users also can click to see a "street view" if they want to look at street-level pictures of the area where the incident took place.
Vanatta said the Web site will not give specific addresses for any incident because it is illegal for the Police Department to divulge the names of suspects in certain crimes, such as sex assaults.
The map is automatically set to show every incident from the last month, but users can change the dates to show incidents throughout any time span.
To the right of the map is a horizontal bar graph that compares the frequency of different types of incidents contained on the map.
Users can sort the information further by clicking on each incident type to, for example, see how many police calls for property incidents were for theft versus how many were for vandalism.
Below the map is a line graph that charts the frequency for each incident type during the last 12 months, and a list of the latest police calls.
Vanatta said this is the same system his department uses internally to track its own call volume and officer responses, but most of that information is not public.
Aside from the crime update feature, Vanatta said other features of the department's Web site have been updated and streamlined for easier use.
Residents can provide named or anonymous crime tips, see the department's annual report or ask a cop a personal question by using the links above the crime update button on the homepage.
Residents also can access a link to registered sex offenders in the community from the same area. The sex offenders page includes mug shots and allows residents to see a map of their known address, if they have one.
"I would encourage people to use all this," Vanatta said. "There's a lot of good stuff people can use to inform themselves."