The Edmond Sun

July 26, 2013

Police support online crime mapping tool

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Typically, agencies can spend thousands of dollars annually through crime mapping providers. BAIR Analytics offers RAIDS Online and the RAIDS Online Mobile app as a free service to any law enforcement agency that wishes to participate.

Sean Bair, founder of BAIR Analytics, said the Edmond Police Department and his company have partnered to provide a new way for the public to stay informed about crime in Edmond.

Bair said the Edmond Police Department now has an online crime map called RAIDS Online (www.raidsonline.com) that maps and analyzes crime data, alerts Edmond citizens about crimes in their area, and allows the Edmond Police Department to quickly alert the public about crimes as they occur.

On the website, Edmond citizens can view a map and grid with all of the crimes in their area, sign up for neighborhood watch reports that automatically email a breakdown of recent crime activity, and submit an anonymous tip about a crime directly to their law enforcement agency.

Bair said RAIDS Online automatically syncs with the Edmond Police Department’s records system to keep crime information updated online and in the mobile app.  

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, Bair said. Geo-coding finds associated geographic coordinates — often expressed as latitude and longitude — from other geographical data such as street addresses or postal codes.

“The Edmond Police Department’s participation in RAIDS Online highlights their commitment to proactive communication with the public they serve,” Bair said.

Jenny Monroe, spokeswoman for the Edmond Police Department, said users can set up an email alert, search by address and search by type of crime.

“One of the most exciting things as far as we are concerned with this software is being able to provide our citizens with the information instantly and at their convenience,” Monroe said. “It’s an overall helpful tool to keep our citizens informed about what crimes are being reported in their neighborhoods.”

Monroe said the mobile app for Apple devices is very helpful as well.

Bair, a former police officer and analyst, said 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,” he said. “We consider this a basic service that we are more than happy to provide to the public and our law enforcement friends.”

Computerized crime mapping has been around for 30-40 years, but the use of maps to visualize and analyze crime patterns dates back to the early 1800s (Paulsen and Robinson 2009). Rudimentary pin maps were the norm for large agencies into the 1970s when computerized mapping began to start taking form.



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