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January 22, 2010
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Neighborhood crime report: The Omega Group’s CrimeMapping and CrimeView

Web-based GIS service tracks and reports crime by type, location

By Scott M. Bruner
PoliceOne Product Editor

Interested in finding out where crimes are happening and what types of crime are most popular in a particular neighborhood? Look no further than the solutions offered by The Omega Group, a San Diego-based company that provides a number of solutions to track crime reports by location and type.

The first solution they offer, which is free to the public, is CrimeMapping.com, an accessible web-based application available to any internet surfer. Simply head to www.crimemapping.com, enter your address, and a map will appear listing all crimes (reported by your local police department) within an adjustable radius.

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Information included in their crime reports is the case number, the date of the crime, the location and a fairly rudimentary explanation of the crime, such as "Call for Service: Burglary," or "Strongarm robbery." It also lists the totoal number of crimes within the radius.

Perhaps more relevant to law enforcement, however, is Omega's CrimeView software – which takes crime mapping to an entirely different level. It remains the most used crime mapping tool in the country, and is used by police departments from California to Florida. The software offers a number of options for police to track crime in a number of ways.

First, CrimeView has all of the main features of the public crimemapping system, but is able to sort data in much more specific, law enforcement-specific methods. Officers can sort data within any boundary – such as locating sex offenders within the radius of a school or the number of robberies around a liquor store. Police can search for the number of specific crimes in particular neighborhoods.

"One of the greatest benefits of using CrimeView is the amount of time it saves me. In a matter of a couple of clicks, I have maps that used to take me several steps using multiple programs," Cheryl Vendt, crime analyst for the Surprise, Ariz. Police Department, said. "Officers actually are requesting that I provide them with the 'CrimeView thing', which means they want a map and report showing activity around a certain address or intersection. Before CrimeView I wasn’t able to give this to them."

CrimeView also offers an analysis function allowing law enforcement to study particular patterns of crime city-wide or in particular areas and be able to create hot points on a map – areas which seem to have inordinately high levels of criminal activity. It offers cyclical reports to automate routine tasks. Perhaps one of the most important features is its ability to provide instantaneous, automatic alerts when criminal activity rises above a particular threshold for an area.

CrimeView's chart system also tracks crimes, and their frequency, with daily and monthly reports, and can tell you what day of the week a particular crime happens most frequently.

There are many applications for both CrimeMapping and CrimeView. CrimeMapping is a handy feature for neighborhood groups, or anyone considering a move to a new location, to be able to get a police-generated report on the area’s crime rates. CrimeView can provide a critical tool for law enforcement in investigations as well as understanding hot areas for patrol deployment.

The Omega Group offers Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software designed to assist public agencies with daily data-driven decisions. You can find them on the web at www.theomegagroup.com.



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