August 03, 2009
Case Study: Faster, Easier, and Cheaper Than Internal Crime Map Solutions
“When the site was launched, we received very positive feedback from the public."
Senior IT Developer
The Ottawa Police Service is committed to information sharing, openness, and accountability. In order to fulfill their commitment to transparency, they wanted to make crime information easily available to the public. However, says Robert Conlin, Senior IT Developer for the Ottawa Police Service, citizens might look through the reports, but “if they don’t know the street or the grouping of streets, they might not get an accurate sense of what is going on in the community.” As a result, the Ottawa police decided to create a public-facing crime map, using internal resources.
However, they ran into some snags while developing the map. For starters, building the resource would have taken an inordinate amount of time and money. The original plan was to have an internal solution ready four years from the time of its inception, and Conlin estimates that it would have taken tens of thousands of dollars to implement and maintain. He adds, “We’d have to redesign our current system and silo that information to the public.” All that work, Conlin admits, would take more resources than the department wanted to allocate.
For a quicker, easier fix, they turned to web-based solutions. After examining the content and functionality of other crime-mapping sites, they decided to sign up with CrimeReports.com. Not only is CrimeReports “the best bang for our buck” at $199 a month, says Conlin, but CrimeReports also supports the type of transparency that the Ottawa PS wants in a public-facing map. Other sites, comments Conlin, allow members of the public to add their own content, which could provide citizens with incorrect or false information. Above all, they wanted to provide the public with clear, official information on calls for service in the Ottawa area.
“We’re adamant about supporting public awareness,” says Conlin. And CrimeReports has helped the service achieve its goals of providing information to the public through a medium that is easy to understand. As a result, he adds, “When the site was launched, we received very positive feedback from the public.” Now the Ottawa PS has increased transparency and the public has a resource for accessing calls for service in their community.
Serving more than 500 law enforcement agencies across North America, CrimeReports.com is the largest online resource for accurate, up-to-date crime information. CrimeReports offers a family of affordable, easy-to-use software tools for law enforcement agencies to understand crime trends and share up-to-date neighborhood crime data with the public. Community members can access the information for free at www.CrimeReports.com, empowering them to make informed decisions to help improve the safety of their neighborhood and community.
CrimeReports services are offered by Public Engines, Inc. For more information, visit www.CrimeReports.com.