New in NP: Easy online crime reporting, mapping

New in NP: Easy online crime reporting, mapping

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The North Providence Police Department is preparing to introduce an online reporting system to the town, and has already launched an online crime mapping system. Both initiatives are part of an effort to embrace technology to “provide better service to our community,” said Deputy Chief Arthur Martins, pictured.

The LexisNexis Desk Officer Reporting System, a community incident reporting solution set to go online March 4, provides a fast and efficient way for residents to report a variety of incidents. The types of incident reports to be accepted online are those of a minor nature where the suspect is unknown. These include harassing phone calls, lost property, vandalism to property, fraudulent use of credit cards and identity theft.

The new capability will increase efficiencies within the department while enhancing services to residents, said police this week.

Reports of violent crimes and incidents where a suspect is known or can be identified cannot be reported online.

“As a department, we believe in working with the people we serve to build a community of the highest quality for present and future generations,” said Chief of Police David Tikoian. “We think that investing in technology, which gives our community members and citizens a better experience, is an important way to demonstrate our commitment.”

According to Martins, the LexisNexis DORS system enables fast and efficient online reporting, as well as the following additional benefits:

• Reduces officer response time by approximately 10 to 30 percent, making them available to respond to more serious incidents rather than being tied to responding to a more minor report;

• Generates more accurate reports;

• Allows victims to easily report minor crime or other incidents without having to wait for a police officer to arrive;

• Provides online access to citizens around the clock;

• And offers a web-based solution accessible on any internet-enabled PC or mobile device.

Martins told The Breeze that his former employer, the Pawtucket Police Department, saw success with this same system.

“I thought it was very successful where I’d come from, and I think it will be successful here,” he said.

Martins said someone who might feel uncomfortable calling police usually feels more inclined to reach out if they can click an online anonymous tip button. Someone who wants to report something but has to get to work and can’t wait for an officer to come might find this to be their best option, he said, and it also helps the department deal with limited resources.

Budget pressures within government agencies across the country and locally create the need for police to provide the highest level of police services to the community with fewer resources, say those in the NPPD. Manual reporting can be inefficient, increasing 9-1-1 dispatcher wait times and preoccupying officers who may be needed for emergency response. It can also contain data entry errors or inconsistencies and doesn’t allow the department to analyze trends.

“We think the North Providence Police Department Citizen Online Reporting System can help our department focus efforts on high priority duties such as emergencies, crimes in progress and trend analysis to prevent crime,” said police.

To report a minor crime or incident residents are asked to access the North Providence Police Department’s website at www.nppolice.com and click on the appropriate tab. Residents may also call the police department at 401-231-4533 for guidance or questions.

Get informed with new mapping program

North Providence police have also partnered with LexisNexis Risk Solutions to provide a new way for the public to stay informed about crime in town. The department now has an online crime map called Community Crime Map (www.communitycrimemap.com) that maps and analyzes crime data, alerts citizens about crimes in their area, and allows police to quickly alert the public about crimes as they occur.

“The more informed the community is, the more they’re willing to share with us,” said Martins.

As residents have heightened awareness about what’s going on around them, they become “better partners” with police in fighting crime, he said. In Pawtucket, a significant number of drug cases were reported through anonymous tips, he said, but there are also lesser matters related to quality of life that people want to report. They might not think a group of young people hanging out in a certain area at night is important enough to make a call to police, he said, but with a quick online tip they can easily make police aware so they can patrol certain areas of need.

North Providence residents 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 anonymous tips about a crime directly to law enforcement agency.

Community Crime Map automatically syncs with the department’s records system to keep crime information updated online and in the mobile app. Community Crime Map 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.

Typically, agencies can spend thousands of dollars annually through other crime-mapping providers. LexisNexis Risk Solutions offers Community Crime Map and the Community Crime Map mobile app as a free service to any law enforcement agency that wishes to participate. Community Crime Map is ad-free and LexisNexis Risk Solutions does not sell the data to third party vendors, thus the agency remains in complete control over the data.

“We think this will be a great tool to keep the public better informed while strengthening the relationship between our Police Department and the community and helping to fight crime, all at no cost to the taxpayers,” said Mayor Charles Lombardi, who also serves as public safety director.

Tikoian said police want to share information with everyone in the community.

“With this direct knowledge at their fingertips, we can quickly make everyone more aware of any crime trends occurring in their neighborhoods,” he said. “The better informed people are, the safer and more secure our neighborhoods will be. We expect this new modern approach will pay dividends by leading to fewer crimes, increased safety and improved relations with everyone we serve.”