Cities across the country are beginning to understand the need to provide citizens with better information. We collect a great deal of data, from geographic information and property records, to economic statistics and crime reports. Making this data easily available will help citizens stay informed, but it will also increase the transparency and efficiency of government. Recently, the Lexington Police Department (LPD) introduced a new online crime mapping system, called RAIDS Online, and the LPD is also offering a couple of new services through which accident and crime reports may be purchased online.
In the past, the LPD has offered citizens an online crime map built by LFUCG computer engineers. To take LFUCG’s online crime map system to the next level, the LPD has teamed up with BAIR Analytics to add Lexington to the RAIDS Online crime mapping system, which can be found at www.raidsonline.com. This new system provides citizens with very sophisticated research tools to access detailed crime reports and statistics.
Each day, the LPD uploads new crime information to the RAIDS system, which then translates the data into maps and other tools that citizens can use to track crime in their area. A number of privacy controls are built into the RAIDS system. For example, the addresses of crimes refer only to the block of the street where they occurred in order to respect the privacy of victims, and some particularly sensitive crimes are randomly assigned to other streets.
RAIDS Online allows citizens to view up-to-date crime information on a map or in a grid, and also offers analytical tools that are useful to citizens and police officers alike. The system can also be used to sign up for customized neighborhood alerts, and to send anonymous tips about crimes directly to the LPD. Providing citizens with crime information not only helps citizens stay informed about what is happening in their area, but also helps to separate reliable, helpful information from unsubstantiated rumors.