Police bring crime into your home, via the Web

By PotatoStew | September 21st, 2005 | 6:30 pm

This is a very cool way to use the Internet:

Tipping off the police has never been easier.

Law enforcement agencies in the Triad increasingly are using the Internet as a tool to collect and deliver information. This creates a situation where residents can more easily discover what police have found going on in their neighborhoods — or let police know what they haven’t discovered.

The Greensboro Police Department’s Web site allows residents to submit anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers.

People who are hesitant to actually speak person-to-person to tip off police about something might not be so reluctant to anonymously use a website to do so.

High Point’s department began putting incident reports and other information online. The service rapidly became popular, with more than 4,000 requests made during the first half of September.

“It’s getting a lot of use,” said Lee Hunt, a crime analyst for the department. “We hoped it would happen.”

The site allows users to map out activity, which permits residents to see what is going on in their neighborhood.

I took a look at High Point’s site — visually, it could use some love, however, functionally it’s intriguing. When we first moved down to the Triad we actually went to downtown Greensboro and spoke with the police to get similar info about areas where we were looking at apartments. An online database makes that process a lot easier. Looking at some of the reports, details are often sketchy, or altogether absent (”I responded to the above location in reference to a property related issue”), but the reports seem to be useful for getting an idea about the type of crimes or frequency of incidents in an area. It would be nice to be able to search by zip code, or neighborhood though, something in between the street and city level.

5 Responses to “Police bring crime into your home, via the Web”

  1. Darkmoon Says:

    Look at you. You’re starting to post! Heh… I was going to say… HOW anonymous is it REALLY posting on the police website.

  2. PotatoStew Says:

    Heehee… yeah, I was just feeling left out, being the only person in the Triad without my own blog.

    As for it being anonymous, I’m sure they can log your IP address, but in most cases I would think that this just tells them that you use Northstate as your ISP (for instance). On the other hand, if you call, caller ID is probably going to tell them exactly who you are. I didn’t bring up the form for reporting tips — maybe they make you log some additional information?

  3. Darkmoon Says:

    Well, that depends. There is such a thing called “Caller ID Block” ya know. Amazing thing it is.

  4. PotatoStew Says:

    I don’t think that works for 911 calls though. If you call directly to the police station instead of 911 it may hide your number though, so that might be an option.

  5. Billy The Blogging Poet Says:

    Thanks for the update!