Earlier this week, the department announced a new online crime mapping feature available to residents.
Any resident with Internet access can view a map of recent crime activity near an address — such as that of their home, place of business or child’s school. They can select crime types and date ranges, generate reports, and receive email updates in the form of crime alerts.
Users will be able to select crime types, depending on what they are interested in learning about, and activity can be queried by date as there is a rolling 90 days of information available. CPD Public Information Officer Mark Camp said the rollout on the feature has been an involved one.
“This has been a process for about a year,” he said. “It’s one of these processes — it’s a slow process because you have to get a lot of information out of our system into the system of the company that does the mapping. “There’s also things that have to be done through the city regarding mapping and points. We have to figure out what points do we want to collect data on, like schools, churches, hospitals, different things like that. So it took about a year to get it all put together, plus to get the money approved in the budget.”
Users can go to the department’s website at www.cartersvillepolice.com and click on the link for Crime Mapping or simply go to www.crimemapping.com. Once on the Crime Mapping site, a user can click on the state of Georgia and then click on the city of Cartersville. A map will appear with major crimes for a certain date range with icons showing where those crimes occurred. The date range can be changed by the user.
Users can click on one of the pinned icons and see what type of crime was committed. The types of crimes being mapped include robbery, burglary, homicide, assault, DUI, drug and alcohol violations, and more. When a user clicks on a crime icon, a pop-up block will tell the general location of the crime such as the 300 block of Main Street, the case number of the report, the date and time of the crime, and a short description of the Georgia law code that was violated.
“We believe this will be a very useful tool not only for the residents of Cartersville, but also for those looking to move to or do business within the city,” Chief Tommy Culpepper said. “We hope this proves to be a valuable resource for our community, but in addition to helping the community, it also allows our officers to see where patterns of crime are occurring and develop and implement strategies to reduce the number of those crimes.”
Camp said the ability to see trends and locations of crime is a benefit to those within the community.
“What this does this actually gives us a visible picture of it which serves to more indelibly print on your mind, ‘Wow, OK, this is a lot. This is where they’re happening at,’ and rather than just printed reports on a piece of paper,” he said. “You can see where stuff is clustered at. It also helps that if you’ve got known suspects living in an area that are guilty of, that have been charged, with certain crimes before, it gives you potential suspects to look for.”
So far, Camp said, the feedback the city has received has been positive.
“The feedback we’re getting so far from the public is that they love it and are glad that the information is available to them,” he said. “Everybody that’s seen it likes it. The shift commanders feel that it’s a great value to them because it enables them to do strategic planning, emphasize different types of patrol or different types of surveillance in different areas. It’s proven to them to be very beneficial.”