Trenton Police Chief Jim Nardone said Thursday he believes the police department's Internet-based crime mapping service is proving to be an effective tool in tracking and fighting crime in Trenton.
The Trenton Police Department began using CrimeMapping.com in August. The service allows residents of Trenton a glimpse into alleged crimes committed in Trenton in the last 24 hours. It also sends residents, who sign up for the free service, crime updates via email.
Nardone said the service gives residents a unique look at crime happening in their neighborhoods. He said crime mapping helps the department and residents in a number of ways:
- Residents are updated daily.
- It allows residents to see every crime reported -- major or minor.
- It allows the police department to track crime nearly instantaneously and respond in a more timely fashion.
- It allows officers a chance to follow crimes that happened while they were not working.
But the service does not come without challenges to the Trenton Police Department, according to Nardone.
"In policing, disclosing too much information can be detrimental to the cause," Nardone said.
Reports can also change after they are uploaded to CrimeMapping.com, which can cause an inaccurate representation of local crime. Nardone said initial information about a crime can change or become inaccurate after an investigation is completed.
For example, a car reported stolen is reflected as such on CrimeMapping.com, but after an investigation is completed an officer might find the car was not stolen due to various circumstances -- including a spouse who might have taken the car without the other spouse's knowledge.
Residents have begun to reach out to Nardone to provide feedback on the service.
"One resident told me that it keeps him informed of what's going on in his neighborhood," Nardone said.
Recent connectivity problems have reduced the number of Trenton crimes sent to the service, but Nardone said the issue has been resolved.
The free service is available to everyone by simply visiting the CrimeMapping.com web page and finding Trenton on the map.
The service costs the City of Trenton about $100 per month and is paid for by city crime prevention funds.
Trenton and Taylor are the only Downriver communities using the online crime mapping service.