Nearly 1,000 police departments are using online crime mapping services to grab data from their police reports, identify crime trends, and push the information to the public through online maps and e-mail alerts, reports USA Today. “The more people understand what’s going on in a neighborhood, the more they can respond to it,” says East Palo Alto, Ca., Police Chief Ron Davis, who began using CrimeReports.com six months ago.
CrimeReports.com, which signed up its first agency, Washington D.C., in 2007, has a roster of about 500 departments and 40 to 50 agencies coming online each month, says founder Greg Whisenant. CrimeReports.com charges police agencies $100 to $200 a month for the service. The Omega Group, a San Diego-based crime analysis and mapping company that launched a public access program, CrimeMapping.com, two years ago, has 50 law enforcement agencies on the service and 50 others coming online.