Friday, September 11, 2009

Alerted and forewarned

Crime Alerts fired up twice this week in my neighborhood. I am subscribed to incidents within a quarter mile of my home. Whenever a crime report hits the police department’s records system and is within that buffer, I get an email with the details.

The two I received this week were both residential burglaries in the wee hours of the morning through unlocked (and in one case, open) garage doors. In both cases the burglar stepped into the house through the also-unlocked connecting door, and took items within immediate reach—including purses. Since these two crimes happened in the same area with the same M.O. three days apart, I suspect they may be related, and there may be someone prowling the neighborhood. In one case, noise pinpointed the time at 4:54 AM.

I probably would not have known about these crimes right here in Cripple Creek had it not been for the Crime Alerts. I’m double checking my garage, and when I get up at around 5:00 AM to write my blog and read police reports, I’m spending a few minutes in the dark of the living room, watching for movement outside.

I would like more people in Lincoln to be similarly informed, which is why I’ve tried to promote Crime Alerts at every opportunity. We have 1,497 people subscribed right now. That’s almost triple the next-closest city, but still a very small number in my mind. It’s free, easy, and won’t deluge you with unwanted email, unless you pick a buffer that’s too big. I suggest a half mile, quarter mile or 500 ft. (about a block and a half.)

The Omega Group has signed up several more cities for the service lately, including a nice application in Omaha, so if you’re an Omaha resident, you can get Crime Alerts, too. I’ve also signed up there, for a half mile buffer around my daughter’s home.


Anonymous said...

I'm only signed up for robberies (citywide), because I check your incident listings several times per day anyway. There's a time lag from actual crime time to incident listing time for some incident types, but that's additional investigation time I assume. I'm also very fond of Crimeview Community, the CA's case listings, and the Nebraska Inmate Locator. You'd have to be a ditz to not take advantage of all the free info on tap around here.

Anonymous said...

I've been a subscriber to the Crime Mapping e-mail service for some time now...and it seems to me there has been quite an uptick in the number of incidents in my area within the past few months. Is there a way I can find out if this is really true for my area or if it just SEEMS like it? Would I be able to chat w/one of the officers in my area to ask for their take on this issue? As you might guess, I've become quite concerned about what appears to be an increase in crime in my neighborhood--which has typically felt very safe, quiet, etc.

Tom Casady said...


Absolutely. Call the Captain who commands your Team area, he or she would be happy to chat with you. Also, if you want to give me an idea of the area in question (I don't need your specific address), I'll put some historical crime data together and post a table back here for you.

Steve said...

One thing I've noticed since I started with Crime Mapping is the number of calls of the type you frequently feature here that seem so unnecessary: A kid scratches another kid with a paper clip at school, someone accidentally left home without locking the door and doesn't know if anything is missing, unknown party dented car while victim was sleeping, and so on.

It's too bad human nature doesn't allow us to recognize ourselves when we see some of the inane behavior of others. Everyone thinks it is someone else doing these idiotic things.

Anonymous said...

After 12 years of mostly feeling safe in our neighborhood our family moved, PARTIALLY because of the crime mapping emails. I knew of some things that went on but had no idea of how many things were actually taking place. A couple pretty serious crimes were the kicker for us.

Trevor Brass said...

Crime mapping makes citizens more informed and by extension more paranoid. I guess you don't think that is a bad thing, Chief, but I guess realtors aren't none too savy about this tool.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply to my question about trends in my neighborhood.
It's pretty impressive that, as busy as you must be, you're willing to look into it for me as well.
I'm in the area between 48th & 40th, a couple blocks south of Randolph. Thanks! (But I'll also take your suggestion & get in touch w/the team captain)

Bob said...


I guess ignorance is bliss, eh?

I've been subscribed to Crime Mapping for quite a while. I live a few blocks away from a somewhat seedy apartment complex, and 2/3 of the reports originate there. Usually it's BF hit GF, or UNK damaged/stole from a car, but I've also noticed that it seems to have picked up a bit. I wouldn't mind seeing a historical table for S. 48th & Rentworth.

Tom Casady said...


Here are the crimes in your neighborhood for the past decade, year by year. I did not include those occurring at the intersections of the outer streets--only the cases inside the four border curb lines. As you will see, things look pretty stable, except for the fluctuations in larceny and vandalism. Those peak years are the result of small "sprees." On December 22nd, 2004, for example, there was a group of vandalisms when someone drove around Lincoln shooting our car windows with a BB gun. The peak larceny years contain one or more outbreaks of multiple cars being broken into on a single night.

For what it's worth, this doesn't look unusual to me. It can be a little daunting to look at all the crimes in a neighborhood at once, but you have to remember that most of these are minor, and that the more serious ones are rarely crimes committed by total strangers.

Anonymous said...

Here's one that just smells funny: A9-090341 No other residential burglaries within 1/4 mi. in the last 90 days, just one attempted commercial burg (on the same night) about 1/4 mi. away. Anyway, they forced two doors, presumably an exterior walk-in garage door and the garage/house passage door. No other houses on the circle were hit, nor any of the cars on the circle. Why did they pick that locked house, just to burgle two game consoles and a plastic bottle full of change? Is there something...special...about the current tenants of that rental property? I'm ambivalent, but the Magic 8-ball is suspicious.