South Bend Police Department to create online crime information website

We're all concerned about crime in our neighborhoods. Soon, South Bend residents will be able to see up-to-date information about crime in their neighborhood.

Not only will you be able to track certain types of crime from your computer or smart phone, you can see where and when they occurred.

The information will come straight from the South Bend Police Department records department, within hours of the original call.

For years, there have been a number of ways to track crime in your neighborhood or elsewhere in the city of South Bend.

For some, that means waiting for the citywide crime map in the Sunday paper.

Capt. Phil Trent, South Bend Police Department, describes what will be different from the Sunday paper version, “The Sunday Paper Is One Part Of It, Joining A Neighborhood Watch And Being A Block Captain Is Another Way Of Getting Phone Messages On What Has Occurred In Your Neighborhood The Last Specific Time Period, We Have A Monthly Crime Meeting Here In Which We Generate Maps.”

But 2012 brings a new way to track crime in the city thanks to the internet.

Capt. Trent describes how it works, “It's crime mapping that's web-based. It's going to much closer to real time. It'll be within hours or 24 hours of crime reporting. So, a person in a specific part of town could look in their particular neighborhood and ask it to show burglaries for the past week, or two or three and they'll be able to map that themselves and do that interactively all over the city.”

And it will track all types of crime. It's similar to a system put into place last year in Berrien Springs. If you happen to be in Berrien Springs, it allows you to track crime in South Bend.

Capt. Trent explains some added bonuses of the new system, “Obviously, since it's internet based wherever you are in the world. If you want to do research on South Bend, Indiana and a specific neighborhood, you've never visited here, you're planning on moving here you can do whatever sort of interactive queries you want to run.”

Trent says better and easier access to crime information makes for a better informed public. A public that is more willing to work with police which, most agree, is the best way to fight neighborhood crime.

Capt. Trent, explains how it will help the community, “It's only going to help. Whenever a department tries to shield that information it never works out. I mean the people in the neighborhood usually know what's going on and a lot of rumors get started. If two different crimes or two of the same crimes occur within a block of each other and people start talking, a lot of times they exaggerate. They can go online and see what's really happening in their neighborhood.”

This new mapping system will be included on the South Bend Police website. It's expected to be operational by spring.

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