The Smyrna Police Department continues to look for ways to keep residents informed. Two weeks ago the department rolled out an announcement regarding a new crime map – RAIDS Online – that maps and analyzes crime data. The best part is the app is available for residents to they can see what’s going on in their own neighborhood.
“People can see what’s going on around them and be aware of what’s going on,” said Smyrna Police Chief Norman Wood.
One of the reasons Wood first started looking into such a measure is the fact people who considering moving to Smyrna have contacted him regarding crime near their potential homes. While the department does have monthly statistics, Wood said there wasn’t anything in place to give the big picture.
Therefore, an officer was sent to meet with Dover PD. The officer came back with a proposal of using RAIDS Online, which is an online crime map. After further looking into the app, the Smyrna Police Department to use the website as well. Not only does the website provide a map and grid of crimes in town, residents can sign up for neighborhood watch reports that breakdown the recent crime. Every day at 2 p.m., Smyrna RAIDS Online is updated with crimes from the previous day.
How to get started
When you first go to the raidsonline.com, you type in “Smyrna, Del.” and a few crime reports will appear. However, for more detailed information you have to fill out the criteria on the menu bar.
The online mobile app is free. Wood said RAIDS Online is the first nationwide crime map available for the public to see.
Thus far, the data only dates back to July 1; however, as time goes on residents can compare data from month to month and see the trends. One point Wood made is that sex assaults will show up over the police department on the map in an effort to protect the victims of sexual assault.
Benefits of technology
Dover Police have been using the crime map app for nearly a year. Dover PD Cpl. Mark Hoffman said the public response to the crime mapping program has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It allows citizens to be informed of what is occurring in their city and even more specifically, in their particular neighborhood,” Cpl. Hoffman said. “I think the fact that the Smyrna Police Department is expanding their use of social media and online tools is excellent. I also believe that it further validates how much of an impact these tools can have in law enforcement and crime prevention. In the short time we have been utilizing our programs, we have seen great benefits from our ability to reach so many people at one time.”
Wood said the online crime map app falls right in line with the department’s emerging Community Policing Unit.
“This is an opportunity for government to be transparent. We want people to be able to see what we’re doing,” Wood said. “We don’t have anything to hide. We respond to an incident and it is what it is. We want people to be able to see what’s going on.”