Several local police agencies are participating in an online program that allows residents to generate crime maps, even customizing down to the block level.
For instance, data uploaded to the Community Crime Map program by the Ogden Police Department shows there were two aggravated assaults within the past month on the block bounded by 32nd and 33rd streets and Jefferson and Porter avenues.
“People can see what we’re seeing and it allows us to be more transparent,” Ogden Police Chief Eric Young said. “Showing the available raw data in a neighborhood, it helps people to hold us accountable for what’s taking place.”
If a neighborhood is beset by prowlers or vehicle burglaries, as examples, residents can keep abreast of the trend, Young said.
The Weber County Sheriff’s Office uploads its data to communitycrimemap.com each day, providing fresh data for residents on the communities the agency serves. Those include West Haven, Washington Terrace, Huntsville, Plain City, Hooper, Marriott-Slaterville, Farr West, Uintah and the unincorporated parts of the county.
“It’s pretty much real time, within a day or so,” said Lt. Cortney Ryan, Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.
Other local participants include Riverdale and Kaysville. Elsewhere in Utah, police departments participating include Orem, Provo, West Jordan, West Valley City and Salt Lake City.
“It will identify any type of trends that we’re seeing, spurts of vehicle burglaries or vehicle thefts,” Ryan said. “Hopefully people are taking time to lock up, but if they see this, it’s ‘Oh, man, it really is happening.’”
He added, “We all live in that world of, it doesn’t happen in my neighborhood, but unfortunately that’s a fantasy.”
Ryan said the Sheriff’s Office has been part of the mapping program for a couple of years but recently began promoting it to residents.
“It’s just a great community policing tool,” he said. “Oftentimes, a law enforcement problem is really a community problem. To solve and prevent crimes from happening, the community solution is for all of us to work together.”
The Community Crime Map also allows residents to sign up for customized email alerts, as does the SpotCrime application, another mapping option offered by the Ogden Police Department. Both also give an avenue to file crime tips to local police.
In Ogden, the city further is promoting an online function allowing residents to file routine police reports.
The service is available only if the incident is not in progress and is not an emergency and there are no known suspects.
“Lost property, cellphones, theft of garbage cans, vehicle burglaries if there’s no evidence — mostly any crime that’s not a felony and that there’s no suspect information to be listed,” Young said. “This is a perfect fit for some types of crimes.”
Also, freeing officers from filling out lower-level reports “allows us to keep officers in the field and watching for suspicious circumstances,” the chief said.