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December 6, 2012

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For Dec. 6

Crime mapping could help our city

Several months ago, while scouring the Internet for assistance in setting up a safety subcommittee for JNLA (Jeffersonville Neighborhood Leadership Alliance), I discovered a city safety program called City Crime Mapping and Analysis. (During this time, the program was also brought to my attention at a Clark County Drug Coalition meeting by an epidemiology professor from Indiana University Southeast.)  

Learning that Richmond had this program, I discussed the program with Chief Chris Wolski from the Richmond Police Department. In light of the recent city council presentation and letter to the editor from a concerned parent addressing a delay in crime reporting of two recent assaults, I thought Wolski’s analysis of crime mapping may be of interest to our community.  

The program extracts data from dispatch and feeds the information directly to the public side and/or police side of the mapping system. Incidents are shown on an area map with category markers indicating each type of minor or major incident. The benefits to the police, according to Wolski, have been invaluable for “data accumulation, monitoring hot spots, predicting problems and the development of overall better policing strategies.”      

From the community side, a citizen can enter his/her address and know quickly what incidents are occurring in the selected neighborhood(s). There is even a site for direct communication via email alerts from the police to your neighborhood.

As a result, neighbors benefit from knowing the issues to address in their particular neighborhoods. Richmond authorities say they received a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods covering the total cost to trial the program for the first year. After that first year, their cost has been about $7,000 a year.

If you are interested, check the program out at http://myneighborhoodupdate.net. Given the grant availability, testing the program would not be hindered by cost and both law enforcement and the citizenry could see if this program would be of benefit to our city.   

— Marilyn Czape, JNLA Secretary, Jeffersonville

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