The Norman Transcript

August 30, 2013

Track Norman crime online

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Norman residents and the rest of the public now have resources available at their fingertips to track crime in their neighborhood and across the city.

The Norman Police Department recently partnered with BAIR Analytics Inc. to create an online crime map, RAIDS Online, to provide the public with a new way to stay informed about crime in Norman. There is also a free RAIDS Online Mobile app for those interested.

“Knowledge is power,” Norman police Capt. Tom Easley said.

The program will allow individuals to 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 to submit an anonymous tip about a crime directly to their law enforcement agency.

The program also allows police to quickly alert the public about crimes as they occur.

“It’s a benefit if you live in a neighborhood or area that is or is not affected by crime,” Easley said, adding that residents can research crime occurrences, as well.

The reports are put into the program on a regular basis, and individuals should be able to find reports within 24 hours of the incident, he said.

The program also will help with community-oriented policing efforts. Easley said as a result of this program, everyone can contribute.

“Crime prevention is a team sport. Police can’t do it all by themselves, no way, no how,” he said. “We need eyes, ears and information from the community. If we don’t have that, there’s only so much we can do.”

The program allows residents to report crimes, anonymously if they wish.

“A lot of people prefer to remain anonymous, and that’s fine, but the drawback of that is that we don’t have anybody we can subsequently contact and ask questions (for further investigation),” Easley said.

Another benefit is that those who are looking for crime statistics can check them online or on their mobile app instead of calling into the police department. However, he said people still will have questions or concerns about crimes that do not show up.

“It’s not all inclusive. There are some things that will not appear,” he said. “We can certainly take individuals’ requests, but we thought (this program) would save us some time.”

Recent crime incidents will be displayed on a map or listed in a grid. Users can click on an incident for more information or display a hotspot map based on crimes that are currently in display.

RAIDS Online automatically syncs with the Norman Police Department’s records system to keep crime information updated online and in the mobile app. It cleans and geocodes the crime data, then displays all of the incidents on a map, grid and analytics dashboard along with basic information about the incidents including type of crime, location type, block-level address, date and time.

“The Norman Police Department’s participation in RAIDS Online highlights their commitment to proactive communication with the public they serve,” said Sean Bair, founder of BAIR Analytics. “We’re excited to partner with the Norman Police Department to provide this free service for their public.”

BAIR Analytics offers the program as a free service to any law enforcement agency that wants to participate. It doesn’t sell data to third party vendors, and the agency remains in complete control of their data.

“We wanted to do something to help law enforcement in these tough economic times. We consider this a basic service that we are more than happy to provide to the public and our law enforcement friends,” Bair said, who is also a former police officer and analyst.

The RAIDS Online Mobile app is available for free at the App Store.

Residents can visit Norman’s crime map online at raidsonline.com/?address=

Norman,%20OK.

Jessica Bruha

366-3540

jbruha@normantranscript.com