Crime mapping tools for NJ citizens gaining in popularity
Some New Jersey police departments are utilizing crime mapping tools to connect law enforcement with the community in an effort to reduce crime.
RAIDS Online allows the public to view an online map of police incidents in their area, including car accidents, robberies and homicides. The map is generated using case numbers from police reports of incidents and crimes within a municipality.
In addition to the online map, RAIDS Online can also alert the public to recent crime activity through an app that can be used on a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
According to the company's website, crime mapping allows the public to get a clearer picture of the crime in their area so they can make more informed decisions about how to stay safe.
Currently there are 30 police departments in New Jersey working with RAIDS Online, the majority of which are in South Jersey. Some of the municipalities using the system include: Monroe Township, Egg Harbor Township, Northfield, Lodi, Pitman, Deptford and Glassboro. The Vineland Police Department is also in the process of implementing the system.
A Monroe Township Police Department official said RAIDS Online has been well received by the public. "We have had a lot of comments back to us, indicating that they are very happy with the app, and that they will use it and will download it," said Sgt. Gene Salzbach. "Citizens will get up-to-date information, as recently as 24 hours old of incidents in their jurisdiction."
Police commanders can also use the maps to more effectively deploy their crime-fighting forces.
Another feature of RAIDS Online allows people to pinpoint a particular incident and anonymously send police feedback about it, including information and tips that might be helpful in solving a crime.
The anonymity of RAIDS Online is especially helpful to police departments because in some cases there is a reluctance by citizens to come forward and provide information when a crime is committed.