Saturday, April 20, 2024

Leland police upgrade to CrimeMapping tool for residents to track nearby crime

Leland Police Department uses CrimeMapping so users can enter their address in Leland and suss out criminal activity that has been reported in the area. (Port City Daily/Screenshot by Shea Carver)

LELAND — The Leland Police Department has been providing residents a crime-mapping source to track offenses that have taken place in their city, on their streets and in their neighborhoods over the last few years. According to town spokesperson Hilary Snow, it’s part of the police department’s mission to strengthen relationships within the community and communication.

“The benefit to residents is that they can access crime data on their own without having to request police reports, and they can access that data as often as they want, and pinpoint certain areas of [t]own and/or particular incidents that may be of interest or concern to them,” Snow said. 

CrimeMapping essentially is an upgrade that didn’t cost the town anything extra from their budget. Yet, it is more compatible with LPD’s report management system, CentralSquare. 

CrimeMapping bills itself as a tool that fosters reduction of crime by informing citizens of activity happening in their area more frequently. It extracts LPD data and verifies it automatically in what Snow calls an “open-canon kind of tool.”

Leland users can type in an address, landmark, zip code or police department, and the data for the area pops up (they can check outside areas, too, as long as that local agency subscribes to CrimeMapping). Reports can be populated within 500 feet to a 2-mile radius of a location.

It tracks arson, fraud, burglary, drugs/alcohol violations, robbery, sex crimes, vandalism, theft, weapons, fraud, and other criminal activities. It can also chart crimes around the area over a seven-day time frame. Reports remain on the site for six months.

Users can set up personalized alerts for one or multiple addresses, as to keep dibs on areas surrounding their homes, family members’ homes or close to their jobs. The goal is to create awareness and safer spaces.

The company said it promotes this form of public self-reliance as a bolster to community policing. The idea has been discussed more over the last year after Black Lives Matter protests erupted in the summer of 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s death. 

Much of the community-policing concept revolves around transparency and building trust with law enforcement, as departments strategize ways to connect more to community members, organizations, partnerships, other government agencies, media, and businesses to effectively build secure environments. It takes a proactive approach to policing with a focus on better problem-solving skills and community organization and communication.

“The way I see this tool helping is in a more indirect way,” Snow said, “potentially increasing safety awareness and the relationship between residents and local law enforcement through the ongoing provision of information.”

Anyone who wants information on crimes that happened after incident reports expire from the CrimeMapping site can contact LPD directly. They will need to state the time frame and type of incident they’re searching for to receive copies of reports.

According to data provided from the LPD, there was a decrease in open criminal investigations by more than half, from the last six months of 2019 compared to the first six months of 2020. New cases decreased by 28% during the same time too.

“The Leland Police Department, like everyone else, continued to be heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report stated. “Although we continued to provide the same level of service to our community, we had to do so with modifications and precautions. The entire staff of the agency was instrumental in ensuring that the Town of Leland was being served in the best way possible in light of the challenges that were being faced.”

The town had slightly fewer arrests and traffic crashes, yet incident reports and calls for service remained about the same from July to December 2019 and January to June 2020.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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