The Coon Rapids Police Department has launched an online crime mapping and crime analysis project.
Partnering with BAIR Analytics Inc., headquartered in Highlands Ranch, Colo., the police department has provided a new way for residents to stay informed about crime in Coon Rapids.
And it gives the police department a new tool to analyze crime trends and determine how best to use its patrol and investigative resources.
“It gives us a better way of doing our business,” said Capt. Cary Parks, who has spearheaded the police department’s partnership with BAIR.
And it will be another crime prevention tool for the department, he said.
“For residents it provides a snapshot of serious crimes in their neighborhood,” Parks said.
“They can see what’s going on in their neighborhood.”
Through the partnership, the police department now has an online crime map called RAIDS Online that maps and analyzes crime data and alerts Coon Rapids citizens about crimes in their area which remain on the RAIDS online website for up to a year.
As well, by signing up via the website, residents will get crime alerts by email when one of the publicly reportable crimes takes place within a specified distance from their home, according to Parks.
To visit the Coon Rapids crime map, go to http://www.raidsonline.com/?address=Coon%20Rapids%20MN.
A link to the website can also be found on the Coon Rapids Police Department page on the city of Coon Rapids website.
According to a press release from BAIR, Coon Rapids citizens can view a map and grid with all of the crimes in their area, sign up for reports that automatically email a breakdown of recent crime activity in their neighborhood and submit an anonymous tip about a crime directly to the police department.
RAIDS Online automatically syncs with the police department’s records system to keep crime information updated online and in the mobile app, the press release states.
RAIDS Online cleans and geocodes the crime data, then displays all of the incidents on a map, grid and analytics dashboard along with some basic information about the incidents, including the type of crime, location type, block-level address, date and time, it states.
“The Coon Rapids Police Department’s participation in RAIDS Online highlights their commitment to proactive communication with the public they serve,” said Sean Bair, founder of BAIR Analytics.
“We’re excited to partner with the Coon Rapids Police Department to provide this free service for their public.”
BAIR provides the service free to both the city and members of the public, according to Parks.
But not all crimes will be tracked on the mapping system, Parks said.
“The data that we are providing in the mapping program is only felony level FBI UCR Part I offenses with the exception of sex crimes,” he said.
The crimes that are currently mapped on the website are:
• Aggravated robbery
• Burglary – commercial
• Burglary – residential
• Aggravated (felony) assault
• Theft (felony)
• Vehicle theft
The police department was dispatched to 38,761 radio calls in 2012, resulting in 35,923 police reports, according to Parks.
It would be overwhelming to map each of these incidents and the FBI UCR Part II and Part II, IV and V offense categories, Parks said.
The crime mapping service is not only available online via computers, but also on iPads and iPhones, Parks said.
According to its press release, RAIDS Online is ad free and BAIR Analytics does not sell the data to third party vendors, thus the agency remains in complete control over their data.
“We wanted to do something to help law enforcement in these tough economic times,” Bair, a former police officer and analyst, states in the press release.
“We consider this a basic service that we are more than happy to provide to the public and our law enforcement friends.”
Coon Rapids is only the second city in the state to implement the BAIR crime mapping system, according to Parks.
Golden Valley was the first, but other communities, including Mounds View and Plymouth, have started work on the project, Parks said.
BAIR has its crime mapping system in place in other states, especially in southwest, western and eastern states, he said.
There are other vendors offering crime mapping services, but many of them charge, Parks said.
Parks became aware of the BAIR system through his work on the Anoka County public safety data project.
Besides the fact that there is no charge, Parks likes the system’s capability and functionality and is also impressed that it has mobile app availability for iPad and iPhone users, he said.
But the online crime mapping system is only the first phase of the project, according to Parks.
In February, the department will be purchasing two software systems that will provide more in-depth crime analysis and two members of the department will be receiving training from BAIR on the use of the software, Parks said.
“The department will have the ability to further analyze crime trends in the community and the region,” he said.
The department will be able to “drill down” to identify crime trends, for example, types of crimes and their locations as well as the hours of the day crimes are being committed in certain areas so that resources can be better utilized, Parks said.
It will also give the department the capability of going into the records of other police agencies, he said.
This comes at a cost, however.
According to Parks, the acquisition of the software, which includes a one-time fee, will cost some $9,550.
There is money in the 2013 police department budget to pay a portion of the expenditure, while forfeiture funds will pick up the balance, Parks said.
In addition, there will be a $4,000 annual cost for the software systems, which will be included in the department’s annual budgets, he said.
Established in 1997, BAIR Analytics is an analytical software and services company providing innovative tools and subject-matter expertise for public safety, private security, national security and defense agencies, according to the press release.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]