By Martin Couch
Bryant will be the first in the state of Arkansas to be a part of a national crime mapping system that tracks different offenses within the city beginning in the fall.
After seeing the system displayed two years ago at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in San Diego, Calif., Bryant Chief Tony Coffman took a look on how crime mapping could aid the city.[more]
“It’s already in the stages to be ready by the fall, hopefully,” he said. “All we’re working on now is the programs for the Incident Reporting System to write our program so our posts can be extracted on a daily basis.”
Crime mapping is an online system that can be used by anyone with a computer. The object is to select the area in which one lives and the information provided by the local law enforcement agency will be marked with icons for specific crimes within an area from 500 feet to 2 miles from any specific location.
“Anybody in the country can see this if you have internet access,” Coffman said. “People wanting to move to Bryant can come see our crime stats with this system.”
The cost of the system is $1,200, but the money has already been raised from local business for the next two years and did not come from the police department budget.
“You can use the cursor to find out how many crimes have been committed in a specific area and it gives descriptions of those crimes,” Coffman explained. “You can drag on the map and it keeps posting for the area desired, the number of crimes. It also tells how many incidents have occurred at a specific location. People have access to it anywhere now by coming in to the station and asking for it, but when this is in place, they can access it online.
“I’m not afraid for the public to know,” the chief emphasized. “I want them to know, so they can help me bring it down with more help.”
The site allows access for up to three month’s worth of crimes in a single area, too, and generates pie-charts on specific crimes in that area.
“If anyone thinks that we are crime-free, they need to wake up,” Coffman said. “We’re not immune and we’re no different from any other town or city in the United States. This crime mapping will allow the public this type of information to help us help them. It’s kind of a wake up call that lets you know what’s going on.”