Crime maps put online
February 12, 2008
The Park City Police Department and Summit County Sheriff’s Office have joined other law-enforcement agencies in Utah in an online, publicly available mapping program that shows where crimes are reported.
The site debuted in late January, and the two local agencies are uploading basic information about cases. People can scroll through the map to their neighborhood and discover if any criminal episodes were reported.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff helped broker a deal with the company that provides the service, and his office says 38 agencies — sheriff’s offices, police departments and campus police departments — are participating.
The Police Department in Park City updates its part of the site each day by 7 a.m., says Phil Kirk, a Park City police captain who is involved with the local maintenance of the site, http://www.crimereports.com.
He says Parkites can scan the site and decide if they need to take precautions. Kirk says, as an example, the recent spate of slashed tires in Park Meadows was mapped on the site.
People can monitor, "street to street," where incidents are reported, Kirk says. If burglars are preying on a neighborhood, Kirk says, the online map would show where the cases are reported.
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"It would make sense you be more careful about securing your property," Kirk says about the prospects of someone learning about a rash of burglaries in a neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the site could assist the Police Department as it schedules its patrols, Kirk says. Police brass could send more officers to certain areas at times when the mapping shows crimes are reported, he says.
"It might show some kind of pattern that might lead us to potential suspects," Kirk says.
State money is funding the program for the first year, and the local Police Department would be responsible for about $1,000 annually after the first year. Additional money from the Statehouse could reduce the charge to the local agency after the first year, Kirk predicts. He says $1,000 per year is a reasonable price for the service.
The agencies provided the online company with access to crime data for the mapping.
Early in the week, Park City’s crime map on the site was typical for the city’s ski season, with a concentration of cases in Old Town. Parking problems, assaults and property crimes were indicated on the map.
The site offers email alerts, a place to look up registered sex offenders and options to view the crime reports by type of offense.
"You can’t get much more convenient," Kirk says.