Source: The Independent

So Long Scanners, Hello Map App

by Kitty Merrill

December 12, 2012

It’s called Intelligence Led Policing, and despite joshing from colleagues in East Hampton Town Police Headquarters last week, Detective Sergeant Robert Gurney says that’s not an oxymoron.

On Friday, Det. Sgt. Gurney offered a demonstration of the latest arrow in the crime-fighting quiver – an interactive online map that shows and analyzes crime data by neighborhood throughout the town. Called RAIDS Online, the system will help both cops and citizens, allowing the latter to get more information on crimes in their communities and, hopefully, provide more info to police in return.

“When they offered us this map, we jumped in, hoping to generate more interest in crime patterns and more information coming our way,” Det. Sgt. Gurney related.

The system is certainly interesting and local police scanner addicts may find themselves glued to the laptop or Smartphone tracking mischief, burglaries and thefts, plus more, in their hamlets.

Sign on to the site via www.raidsonline.com.

Prompts located next to the map allow users to get as specific as they want, even plugging in their own addresses to track crimes in their areas. Select a timeframe, and pick from a list of potential crimes. Color-coded buttons will appear in the map. Click on them to learn more about an individual incident, the time it occurred and the street where it was perpetrated. There’s even a prompt allowing the user to submit an anonymous tip.

Another section of the map provides “analytic layers” that calculate trends and depict “hotspots.” Police have extra access to additional prompts that will not just show patterns, but predict where crimes are most likely to occur next. “This allows us to increase patrols in a particular area,” Det. Sgt. Gurney explained.

Additionally cops can click on the map – from their squad cars – to find extra case information about different incidents. The online map also makes it easier to share information with other agencies, the detective sergeant informed.

Citizens can sign up for customized neighborhood watch reports. RAIDS Online automatically syncs with the EHTPD records system to keep the information updated online and in a mobile app, which is offered free on the App Store.

BAIR Analytics, Inc., a company that sells analytic software and workstations, is offering the service for free to the town. “We wanted to do something to help law enforcement in these tough economic times. We consider this a basic service that we are more than happy to provide to the public and our law enforcement friends,” said company founder Sean Bair, a former police officer and analyst.

Det. Sgt. Gurney believes East Hampton is the only town police department on Long Island using the system so far. “Hopefully,” he said, “It will help generate a dialogue between us and the public.”

kmerrill@indyeastend.com