Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008

Coming to your computer: Crime stats in real time

Police program to launch Friday; residents will be able to quickly track incidents in the county

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The county police department will launch an interactive program this week that will allow county residents to track crime in their neighborhoods through the Internet.

The Web-based reports will launch Friday on www.crimereports.com. Residents may also go through the county police’s site, www.montgomerycountymd.gov⁄police.

The plan is still being piloted. Under the deal with Public Engines, a software development company in Salt Lake City, Utah, county police is paying $200 a month for the technology.

The department will post the crime data on the site in real time. Then, residents can look at the data on a Google Maps interface by typing in the specific area they want to review.

For county residents, ‘‘it’s really going to give them a clear picture of what crime is going on this area,” said Greg Whisenant, chief executive officer of Public Engines.

Residents can also sign up to get free e-mail crime alerts when incidents happen close to their home or near an address of interest, like a business, school or community center. Text message alerts will be launched in the next few months, said Christian Faulconer, Public Engines’ chief operating officer.

The CrimeReports Web site is free, and police will update the data every night, they say. Though police say the data would be updated consistently, the incidents will be posted before their investigations are complete, which could change the information put on the Web site.

Where to go

Go to www.crimereports.com to review crime in your area.

Go to www.publicengines.com to learn more about the company that developed the Web site.

What’s posted?

Date and type of incident

Block where the incident happened