Monday, February 9, 2009

Another try

Sunday morning, an email was in my inbox informing me of a crime that occurred a short distance away from my home. It was a larceny from auto. Someone entered the victim’s vehicle, rummaged around in the glove box, and ultimately stole a pair of insulated coveralls. It looked like the window may have been cracked just enough that the thief was able to pull it out far enough to hit the lock button. I know that sounds a little odd, but with some vehicles, there is a surprising amount of “give” in the window.

One unusual aspect of this case is that the victim’s vehicle was in the driveway. This is somewhat rare. Parking in the driveway (when possible) is usually a good preventative measure. I am going to add “make sure your windows are rolled all the way up” to my list of advice on preventing thefts from automobiles.

A year ago, I probably would not have known about this crime in my own neighborhood. It would have been lost among the 320 incidents we responded to on Saturday. I know about the crime now because I am subscribed to a Crime Alert for incidents within a half mile of my home address. Whenever a police incident report hits our database and is geocoded within that circle, I get a push email with the basic details. It’s a great service, and it is available to the general public through, one of our two public crime mapping applications in collaboration with the Omega Group.

We’ve promoted this application before, with some success. I checked a couple of weeks ago with the Omega Group, and at that time, there were 742 people signed up for crime alerts in Lincoln. That’s not bad, but it ought to be a few thousand, in my opinion—it’s that valuable, and it’s free. I want to give it another try, and see if a second round of publicity about Crime Alerts can bump that number up. The more people know about crime in their own neighborhood, the more likely they are to take precautions, and the more likely they are to take notice when they wake up for a drink of water in the wee hours of the morning, and see someone walking into the driveway of a house down the block.

My only warning here is to be careful about the distance you choose: a lot more stuff happens in Lincoln than you realize, and if you pick a buffer of a mile or two, you might be getting more information than you want or can comfortably deal with. A block in Lincoln is about 350 feet on average, so a 500 ft. buffer would be a circle with a radius of around a block and a half. A quarter mile would be a circle about a 4 block radius, and so forth.


Anonymous said...

When will you be able to "push" emails or texts to Landlords or property owners of incidents at their own addresses?

Anonymous said...

I'm signed up for robberies only, because tracking those is sort of a hobby of mine; specifically business robberies and who commits them, demographically speaking. I'd like to see the local fishwrap do an article on that, but I'm not holding my breath.

For everything else, I do a daily "pull" on Crime View Community for my area, and also the LPD Incident Summaries for little things (like disturbances) that don't make it on CVC. This is a pretty boring semi-bubble (RD 105), but every now and then something pops up. We had a dozen-plant dope farm in this RD busted last month (at an owner-occupied house, no less), but it never made the papers.

Anonymous said...

Are you able to release the names of these at-large pillars of the community, so that those who know their whereabouts might drop a dime on them, or would that not be helpful in this particular instance?

that's what she said...

There should be thousands of people using it, but it seems like it is hard to get the ducks to do much to help themselves. There should be thousands more doing basic crime prevention measures that are simple and inexpensive or free.

Buck said...

In regard to the comment made by Anonymous @ 2:26, I have a question.

When I looked at the map, it showed the crime as taking place south of O street, even though the incident report indicated the crime occurred at 540 NORTH 46th Street....but there is not an apartment, or any type of dwelling, at that location. Where did it really happen?

Anonymous said...

I got a question for you.

pertaining to lincoln laws and ordinances.

dance permits. how can hotels do them til 4 am? holiday Inn on 9th and college events such as the big 12 party at the pershing center such?
why are they exempt?

just cruious?