Albemarle Police Urge Public to Use Crime Tracking Software
The Albemarle County Police Department has software to help track crime in county neighborhoods. Officials say the public hasn't been taking advantage of the tool, and now they're talking about the features that could be missed out on.
The police department has had crime reports available for years. The system now in place, called Crime Mapping, is an interactive user-friendly tool that can be accessed online.
Crime Mapping is giving police a heads up on what types of crimes are happening in different parts of the county.
"It's a great tool for us to really know exactly where to pinpoint our resources and how to focus our attention," said Carter Johnson, a spokesperson for the Albemarle County Police Department.
The public can easily access that information too. Crime Mapping allows the user to search a general area, or type in a specific address to find out what type of crimes happened there. One of the features allows users to narrow their search according to the type of crime, date, time of day and other search criteria.
Albemarle County police have a more advanced crime tracking system that allows them to keep detailed statistics on crimes and follow trends.
"It absolutely influences our response and really we're trying to be proactive by tracking this to see where should we be going in the future and how we should respond," Johnson said.
Some of the trends police have seen thus far: the Jefferson District of Albemarle County tends to have more traffic accidents and thefts while the Blue Ridge District, made up of more rural and residential areas, tends to have more "quality of life" complaints like noise violations.
"With geographic-based tracking we're really trying to focus on specific needs in different parts of the community and county," Johnson said. "So we can pinpoint a specific community, we can pinpoint a specific crime, and every week we can track to see what day of the week is this happening, when is this happening, and where in our community is this taking place?" she said.
Even though the software has been around since the summer, Albemarle police officials said people haven't been taking advantage of it as much as they could, and they're urging people to try it out.