Police and City continue to enhance CrimeStat Website
Published Friday, January 9, 2009 6:20PM CST
The CrimeStat Website is about to get a major facelift according to police Chief Keith McCaskill, and Mayor Sam Katz.
The site will be more interactive and in theory more accountable. The goal of the fourth phase of the CrimeStat program is to provide more timely and up-to-date information to protect the citizens of Winnipeg.
The CrimeStat Website has seen a number of upgrades over time. It was launched first launched two-years-ago in February, 2007.
In March, 2007 maps were added to the site for the City's former six police districts.
The maps displayed locations of crimes reported under nine categories: homicide, robbery-commercial, robbery-residential, sexual assault, stolen vehicle-attempted, stolen vehicle-completed, break and enter-commercial, break and enter-residential, and break and enter-other.
These maps were updated weekly.
Enhancements launched today on the site include the following features:
- The public user will be able to input date ranges and other criteria to customize the results they are seeking from the CrimeStat database.
- The default setting, which appears when the user logs onto the site, shows crimes city-wide, with the district police stations clearly marked.
- Data available to the system will be more timely (two days after reporting instead of data that is seven days old).
- Results will continue to be available in chart and map format. Maps are drawn by the City of Winnipeg's iMaps interactive mapping application.
- Users can zoom in on the map display to enlarge a specific location.
- Icons for crimes will appear at an approximate location so as to minimize the risk of identifying victims. This is similar to the process used in the past on the site.
- A significant enhancement is the addition of a new crime type, shootings. Addition of crime types has been a long-term goal of the program, and further additions are anticipated as capabilities and resources allow.
The sites appearance and functionality, as it previously existed, is dramatically changed as users will no longer be limited to just weekly charts and maps.
In addition users will now have the flexibility to produce a map and statistics based on the criteria they are most interested in such as:
- Various date ranges (7, 14, 30 days and a custom range of dates that go back one year)
- Specific crime types (10 different categories)
- Specific areas such as: Entire City, Police District, Electoral Ward and Neighbourhood
Other new features of a more administrative nature include:
- The new site will be consistent with the new look and feel of the City of Winnipeg corporate web design.
- There is a commonly-used legal agreement and disclaimer to be accepted by the user concerning the sites conditions of use.
- There are three options to view interactive maps, based on the users own internet browser settings.
Mayor Sam Katz says the numbers prove that CrimeStat is working and is an invaluable tool to reduce crime. This new phase of CrimeStat will improve usability for citizens and help our Police Service further reduce crime in Winnipeg.
As stated in the past, the website is just one aspect of CrimeStat.
Under the CrimeStat management and accountability model, police commanders have met bi-weekly since April, 2007, and use detailed analysis of crime occurrences to form strategies and plans to attack crime trends early on, before the trends become long-term problems. Follow-up meetings gauge the effectiveness of those strategies, and police adjust and enhance plans when necessary to solve more complex problems.
I'm very pleased to see advancements in this technology for public safety purposes, said Councillor Gord Steeves, Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Protection and Community Services. Citizens tell us they want to be aware of crime in our city and learn how they can avoid victimization. This website is a great tool to help Winnipeggers become more actively involved in public safety.
These new maps will enhance the public's access to information on changes in criminal activity. The maps will also show the impacts of policing plans developed by commanders to target police resources at hot spots of crime.
Police encourage citizens to become more familiar with this and the many other crime prevention tools and programs that are available to assist in reducing crime in our city.
Our members have been working hard to build better relationships with citizens and groups, said Police Chief Keith McCaskill. Under our Community Support philosophy, police can't do it alone.
The improvements to CrimeStat will give citizens more information so they can continue to work with us for a safer Winnipeg.
CrimeStat is part of the City of Winnipeg's Neighbourhood Safety and Crime Prevention Strategy approved by City Council in July, 2006.
CrimeStat, like the American Compstat model, is an innovative approach to policing and crime prevention, encouraging community engagement while augmenting current police procedures and strategies.
CrimeStat is based on four principles:
1. The gathering and dissemination of accurate and timely information
2. Rapid deployment of resources
3. Effective tactics
4. Relentless follow-up and assessment
This type of approach has been highly effective in cities throughout the United States and more recently in Canada.
With a report from CTV's Kelly Dehn