Last April, the South Bend Police Department launched a new service that allows residents to better track crime in the city.
And now, a year later, it's getting positive reviews from the public and police alike and you don't have to wait a week, or even a day.
These crimes are usually posted within hours of a police report being filed.
This is a far cry from having to wait for the Sunday paper to see where crime is occurring.
Crime reports allows you to track certain types of crime from your computer or smartphone and you can see where and when they occurred.
The information comes straight from the South Bend Police Department records department, within hours of the original call.
In April 2012, south bend joined a growing number of police departments locally and nationwide to use the crime reports system, which you can access by logging on to the South Bend Police website.
Every time an officer submits a report, on the civilian side, it's updated once a day.
Once that information is put into the system by the officer, there's a computer program that pulls it out of our records system and lets the people that are enrolled in the system know about the crime.
A great feature, people who enroll can have it specific for their neighborhood.
"Anything they see on that screen, as they set up in their neighborhood, they'll get an alert," says Lt. Patrick Hechlinski. "If they only want to know about burglaries, there's a little box and they check off if they want burglaries only or all the crimes that's listed are available to them."
Hechlinski, who coordinates the city's Neighborhood Watch program, says he's had positive feedback from residents.
“A lot of people seem to love the program, love to be able to get that information at their fingertips, have it come in to their cell phones and know when things are going on in their neighborhoods,” says Lt. Patrick Hechlinski.
Michelle Gloss is a Neighborhood Watch captain in South Bend's often rough-and-tumble near northwest side.
She's been using crime reports for the last year.
“I try to do it every week and I pull off all the reported crimes that have happened, not just within the neighborhood, but within the whole area and I put it into a couple of different formats and I email out to the folks on the list serve so they can see what types of, you know traffic stops, or whatever crimes have been reported,” Gloss explained.
She would like to see more specifics included in each reported crime, but understands that the sheer volume of incidents limits that.
“It certainly is more accessible, you can get on there every day if you want. And it's not just limited to me, anybody can go on and sign up. I do think it's a good thing,” she said.
And Hechlinski says crime reports is not only a good thing for residents but for police themselves.
He recalls how a detective from the burglary unit used it to nab a suspect.
“He was able to use the mapping in order to plot out where all the burglaries were occurring and be able to back track those once he apprehended him and go to each location and pinpoint what he did,” he explained. “So we've had a lot of positive feedback not just from the citizens but from the detective bureau for the officers that were using the program as well.”
Crime reports is free and all you have to is register.
You can do that by going to the south bend police department website.
You can be anywhere in the world, and see what crime is going on in south bend as long as you have an internet connection.
And you can check on crime in other cities that are part of the crime reports system.
Locally that includes places like Mishawaka, that just went to the crime reports system, Berrien Springs, Niles and even Notre Dame.
To get check crime in your area go to: Crime Reports website