For Chesterfield Township residents, knowing what crimes are taking place in their neighborhood is only a click away.
Focused on expanding the lines of communication between the force and public, the officially became a part of Crimedar.com Monday. That means various, brief reports—from those of drunken driving and domestic violence arrests to home and vehicle break-ins—are visible in an online map with icons indicating the types of crimes occurred in their respective location.
Residential police runs listed, along with their short explanations, are cited by general location to protect victims' identities. Specifics about the arrests are also left out of online summaries. Ideally, police said incidents will go online within 24 hours. The public can access the map by visiting www.chesterfieldpolice.org.
Enhancing Communication With Public
"I think it's just a good way to inform the public," Chesterfield Township Police Chief Bruce Smith said. "It also lets the public know what it is we're doing out there."
Police Sgt. Clint Bowerson said the website is a useful tool by helping citizens who report suspicious incidents learn the outcome.
"It also shows that we do follow up," Bowerson said.
The site shares police information like never before.
"This will be the first time that you'll have immediate access with what the police department is doing on a day-to-day basis," he said.
Police said they hope residents use the website to help provide tips to assist in their investigations while also spotting crime trends in their community. For example, a rash of vehicle break-ins on one block will mean home owners should be on alert for thieves and contact police when they spot anything suspicious.
Smith said, with Crimedar or not, he wants residents to reach out to the department when needed.
"People have reluctance to call the police and my message is: If you think something's wrong, give us a call. We'll be glad to come out and investigate," he said.
Seeing Community Crimes Online
Crimedar, which is a play on words for radar, launched eight months ago by Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Pete Collins of Royal Oak.
Collins, who formerly worked in financial planning and is a stay-at-home father, said he was inspired to start the website when his vehicle was broken into about a year ago outside his home. After speaking to police, he found out he was one of multiple residents affected by the same crime.
He said he wasn't going to just start randomly calling police about crimes in the community, so he decided that he and others would benefit from up-to-date reports of incidents around town.
Today, there are nine police departments using the service, including Chesterfield, Eastpointe, Fraser, Troy and Bloomfield Township. And, Collins said the site has the technology and capability to expand globally.
"We have the ability right now if Rome called, we'd be able to get them online," he said.
The cost of the service for Chesterfield Township police is $730 annually, Smith said.