Montgomery unveils new public crime tracking map
By BRIAN EDWARDS
Dec. 15, 2017
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Montgomery residents can now explore a near real-time crime map that officials hope will increase transparency and better communicate the scope of criminal activity in the city.
The new feature is a piece of the city's push toward transparency through it's Open Data website that features numerous caches of city data, such as employee pay, city expenditures and paving projects, among other things. Data about fire suppression, EMS calls and fire station locations was also a part of Thursday's roll out of new features.
Mayor Todd Strange championed the new features as a way for the city to better communicate with residents. He said putting out data from public safety groups is hard, because there are privacy concerns, but ultimately the city believes it has found a way to respect privacy while also keeping others informed.
"Technology saves us manpower effort," Strange said, adding that officers already use technology like this that helps them make more arrests.
The data is available through CrimeMapping.com, though residents can access it through the city's website. Four times a day, the website will be updated with various crimes that are logged through the city, including homicides, assault and burglaries. Law enforcement have also been using mapping tools, police said, to find trends in crime as they developed.
Residents will be able to custom tailor their data searches by geographical area, types of crimes and the date of the incidents. There is also a feature that allows users to set email alerts when crimes are logged near a certain location.
"We want to be transparent because we want citizens to use the data out there to make a better city," said acting Department of Public Safety Director Ronald Sams.