In Ohio, the Toledo Police Department is moving away from paper-based recordkeeping as a way of organizing crime reports and other police information. According to the Toledo Free Press, the TPD invested in a new interactive crime map system that enables officers to improve crime fighting methodologies.
The system allows officers to use data to track crime trends and analyze statistics, helping agents make better use of the department's resources and crime figures, the source reported. In 2012, the TPD started using an interactive crime map that was specifically for agents, but - as of May 15 - the map is now available to the public.
TPD Chief William Moton explained that data-driven policing and real-time information are helping the department keep the community safer, the Toledo Blade reported.
"We cannot be in every neighborhood at the same time and, even if we're in that neighborhood, we don't always know what's normal and what's not, so having an active, involved citizenry is the best way for us to police," said Capt. Mike Troendle, head of TPD's strategic response bureau, according to the Toledo Free Press. "There is no question about that. By getting this out to them, we're educating them more and in turn we're helping ourselves."
Releasing data to the public is the end goal
Giving police and the public access to interactive data for crime reports has always been the ambition of the department, the source reported. The system helps analysts spend more time looking at the data than organizing it, which could help solve more crimes.
The police department wanted to be up to date with the system and fully trained with the crime map before public access was allowed. Once officers were able to use the map effectively, the next logical step for the department was to release it to the public.
"What we're trying to do is allow the public to see what's happening in their neighborhood or their business area so they can be more informed," said Troendle, according to the Toledo Free Press.
Troendle said the department tracks everything from simple crimes to serious Part 1 crimes in the city, the Toledo Free Press reported. The department wants to absorb everything so they can use the data to find out how to stop crime in the future.
"Hopefully, we're putting something in place that's going to last, and it's going to help keep this community safer," Moton told the Toledo Blade.