POSTED: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 -- 4:30 p.m.
By NBC15's Dana Brueck
*NOTE: For a link to the website, click on the link in the RELATED LINKS section below.
Rock County residents can learn about crimes in their neighborhood within hours.
If you've ever seen police on your block and wondered what's happening, this new website for those of you in Rock County could help answer your questions.
Commander Troy Knudson says this new site offers people valuable information at their fingertips.
Here's how it works:
RAIDS Online automatically downloads daily incident reports from the sheriff's office to give Rock County residents basic information, almost instantly.
"The information you're seeing on the screen is very recent, I mean... within hours, in some cases."
And it's all customized.
You either can sign up for email alerts [sent at a specific time] about specific crimes in your neighborhood.
"... maybe a mile or two... maybe you want 5 miles... "
Or, you can enter an address at your convenience to see what has happened in a given time period.
"I think... as a homeowner... you can make the decision... better get my doors locked... maybe I leave the dog outside... maybe I get security light fixed."
For instance, Knudson says, last Fall the county was investigating several bar burglaries.
He says this kind of system streamlines the process to connect the dots, literally, allowing him to put limited resources where they're needed most.
"It makes us much more responsive, efficient... and hopefully more effective in our patrolling activities."
Last Fall, this was one of the bars hit.
Investigators hope by giving people more information, they'll possibly take precautions and offer police clues to solve crimes.
"You may be able to provide some critical information to help us to resolve that crime and maybe shut down a crime spree in your area before it gets too far along."
Different colored dots represent different crimes, but a cluster could signal a hot spot or a trend.
"If we do solve one in the middle of that cluster... may give us an idea who's a good suspect for the rest of the dots in a particular area."
The sheriff's office say the software was provided by the company at no cost to the county, and it covers only those reports taken by the county.
**Below is the original release from the sheriff's office.**
The Rock County Sheriff’s Office recently partnered with Bair Software to provide a new public crime mapping website called RAIDS Online to make it easier for Rock County citizens to keep track of crime in their area.
The system works by accepting basic crime information that is downloaded by the Sheriff’s Office on a daily basis and visually displaying it on a map of Rock County. Citizens can log onto the website and see, at a glance, where crimes are being committed within the county. Beyond that, a citizen can sign up to receive daily email alerts regarding any crime that may have occurred within the last twenty-four hours near their own residence.
Sheriff Spoden has made community policing a priority for the Sheriff’s Office and this initiative provides a powerful tool to improve communication between law enforcement and citizens. Receiving timely information about local crime trends will allow citizens to take precautions when necessary to help avoid victimization. In addition, if citizens are aware of recent crimes that the Sheriff’s Office is attempting to solve, they may be able to provide critical information to help solve the case and to make their communities safer. This initiative is an exciting example of the way in which technology can improve the service that public safety agencies provide.
The development of partnerships between the Sheriff’s Office and public, as well as, private agencies is an important component of community policing. As resources become less available, coordination and cooperation become even more critical. In this instance, Bair Software is providing this service at no cost to Rock County. In this effort, the Sheriff’s Office was able to improve services while remaining fiscally conservative.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to welcome everyone to log into RaidsOnline to explore this new service. A direct link to Rock County data can be located on the home page of the Rock County Sheriff’s Office website. In addition, the site can also be reached through the link that is available on the Rock County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook account.