Website allows residents to track crime in their neighorhoods

May 19 2012 - 6:53pm

FARMINGTON -- West Point residents can now go online and see exactly how many vehicle burglaries happened in their city in April.

They are not alone, thanks to www.crimereports.com.

Davis Sheriff's Office recently signed up with the website, which shows a map with icons showing where sex offenders live and what crimes have been committed in neighborhoods.

The state Attorney General's Office signed up for the service in 2008 and since then a number of law enforcement agencies have chosen to use the website.

Davis County Sheriff's Lt. David Bremer said, "The program is attached to your reporting system and basically does searches as new case reports are taken."

Any resident can go to the website, type in their address and configure what information they want to see by using the hot buttons at the top.

The website will "hopefully make better informed citizens," Bremer said.

Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham said he opted for his agency to use the site as soon as the attorney general's office signed up for it. He said people can see what is going on in their neighborhood.

"This gives our residents quick access to see what is going on, as well as see what are some historical trends so they can evaluate what they need to do to keep their neighborhoods safe," Whinham said.

Whinham said all his agency had to do was sign an agreement to allow the police agency's computer program to dump data into the privately-owned website.

Some cities have chosen not to participate.

Clearfield Assistant Police Chief Mike Stenquist said he and other police administrators looked into it and had concerns about allowing a privately owned computer system to have access to the police computer system.

"We didn't feel comfortable giving them access for security reasons," Stenquist said.

Clearfield police post a daily police blotter on its website so residents can see what police calls were made the previous day. It does not list addresses.

Ogden Police Department also has opted not to use the site.

Police Lt. Danielle Croyle said her agency uses a real time crime center that gathers information so officers can see instantly where extra patrols are needed.

Also, the community police officers make contact with neighborhoods so Ogden residents know what is going on, Croyle said.

Clinton Police Chief Bill Chilson said when he heard about the program in 2008, he thought, "Sweet, why not?"

"Anything that can help us, I'm for it," Chilson said.

Chilson said in today's world, many people go to the Internet to find answers to problems. The website also allows residents to turn in anonymous tips to police agencies.

If a resident notices a marker on the computer map that designates a crime, such as a vehicle burglary, they may remember seeing something unusual and want to report to police, Chilson said. The website helps do that.

According to the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, the Attorney General's Office received for the fiscal year of 2009-10, $150,000 in one-time funds for the software and maintenance of the website. Legislators approved during session earlier this year $200,000 in ongoing funds for the website.

The service is free to the public and is used in several other areas across the country.

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