Thursday, June 12, 2008

We have a new option available to the public for mapping crime in Lincoln. is a brand-new site created by the Omega Group for its clients. Right now, it has data for Lincoln NE, Duluth MN, and High Point NC--but this will undoutedly grow as more agencies participate.

The Omega Group is a San Diego-based provider of GIS services to police departments, fire departments, and school districts. We've been using their services and products since October, 2000. This latest addition uses a new approach: a synthesis of the carefully-geocoded data from their flagship desktop GIS product, CrimeView, displayed using the Google Maps API.

Public crime mapping is nothing new in Lincoln. We launched one of the nation's first interactive mapping applications in the spring of 1999, and our current public mapping application, CrimeView Community, is the fourth generation of our public mapping. has some similarities to CrimeView Community, but also some significant differences. Perhaps its greatest advantages is that is uses the highly-intuitive and well-known Google Maps interface. It has some very nice graphic design, and has a sleek look and feel. And, of course, it's multi-jurisdictional.

CrimeView Community, on the other hand, offers more control over queries, some additional reporting capabilities, more details, and the backdrop of Lincoln's more accurate and extensive geographic layers--including the latest aerial photos (Google's are several years old.)

Personally, I like both. For the moment, we'll have both available. Options are a good thing. Try out, let me know what you think, and if you have any feedback for the developers, I'll pass it on to our friends at the Omega Group.


Anonymous said...

Pros: It's prettier and faster. When you generate a report, it actually lists the block/street.

Cons: When you generate a report, there are no incident summaries. Doesn't generate PDF maps for printing and archiving.

One thing I do every week is to print out reports of the past week's auto theft and larceny from auto incidents. It's kind of a weekly hobby.

I review the first (AT) to see how many are full-bore auto thefts (locked car, no keys available, not even pilfered keys, or keys lifted by a non-stranger), also how many boosted cars had factory engine immobilizers.

I review the second (LFA) to see how many involved a properly locked car with no non-OEM items, not even low-value items, visible from the outside. This includes items hidden by the cargo cover in a hatchback/SUV/wagon - if you've got that pulled, it just says "there's something under here, break in and find out what".

In other words, did the victims assist the criminal by not taking sensible, common-sense precautions.

For my goals, if the reports listed both the location and the incident summary, it'd be closer to ideal. As it is now, I prefer CVC.

Anonymous said...

I like and will use the email option...would love an RSS option even better!

Anonymous said...

Need to have the short summary included, like Crime View Community. The picture on the opening page of looks like a report with the summary, but it's different than the actual report.

Anonymous said...

So to put it another way...We need a measure to measure which measure is measuring the proper crime?

Geez, call me silly but I think the best way to patrol was quoted by one of your Sergeants. It is to the tune of unassing ones self and getting invovled with their beats.

I understand that mapping is the 30,000 foot view and you can drill down to finite crimes. I see how this can target areas for crime but I have a concern.

Crime is a moving target. Reports are always going to come in. That is a constant. Those in tune with the area are going to be aware of what is happening at the troop and sergeant level. Sergeants filter this up to Captains and thus to you.

So if you are staying informed by having the right people in the right places then why is there a need for the Chief to drill down when the troops have that covered on what needs to be done in catching these criminals.

I would feel better to see my dollars going towards a police force who is talking in neighborhoods on a regular basis than have them show up whne crime is happening and leave after the matter.

Too little is invested in the relationship aspect to neighborhoods. The cops know where the crime is. All that ever happens is nabbing who you can and ride the wave out on the rest of it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 11:02 and 10:36, it would be better to have the same comments that you have in Crime View. I enjoy reading those on the blotter. The Crime View doesn't have as many crime types as the blotter, where the comments are a little racier and funnier like that one about the parrott you noted a couple days ago. But the site is more attractive, and it takes a lot less clicks to make the map. I like the icon symbols and the colors for the different crime types. Why aren't there any disturbing the peace cases? Is it because there are too many in Lincoln? I noticed that they are about the main thing in Duluth, but there aren't any of those in HighPoint, either.

Anonymous said...

There is a link up at the top of the page for Be Notified of a Crime!. That looks like a neat idea, but I guess you would have to be in one of the cities that are participating, and I'm not.

Anonymous said...

...also, something is whacky with the zoom tool. The rectangle draws below the location of the cursor, but is not in sync with the location it draws. I tried on two different computers, thinking it was something to do with my screen resolution.

Tom Casady said...

Thanks for the feedback, and I will pass it along to the Omega Group. I'd like to add the remarks, ala CrimeView Community, but I don't know if that has to be the same for all the cities, or whether it can be different in each. I'm guessing that I would be more willing than most to do that, so if it has to be the same for all, I might be out of luck. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

Could you give a shot explanation in how this all works?

How does the data get to omega?
Are tey going nation wide?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for removing all the "PORN" text from the call list.
Little things all add up to big after combating this sewage.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that LPD makes you blow up a balloon for DWI test, and then you have to twist it into a giraffe?

Tom Casady said...


We're already a longtime Omega Group customer, and use their full-fledged GIS products internally. We have been using their desktop products to geocode the incident data in our records management database for several years. So for us to make part of this data avialable on, all we have to do is upload the data we want to share from our own internal crime mapping applications to the Omeega Group's server. This is done with an automated process that runs every few hours.

I'm sure they will be offering this to their other current customers, for whom it is quite simple. Many of these customers are already making mapped crime data available on the web with another Omega product: CrimeView Community. is another way to work with that same data across many jurisdictions.

No doubt they would like to recruit more departments to take part. This not only enhances the site, but it also makes their other services and products more attractive to a potential customer who wants to build a more full-fledged GIS capability. is brand-new, and I think we can expect continued developments as it unfolds.

Anonymous said...

Type in 4078 Bel Ridge Dr and go to street view and Lincolns finest are on gagle maps

Tom Casady said...

Anonymous 6:16-

Very nice StreetView catch! Interestingly, I just emailed the Omega Group Friday afternoon and suggested that they add StreetView to, since Lincoln is starting to be lit up with StreetView.

For the time being, readers can see what 6:16 is talking about by clicking here. Look for the StreetView link, then pan the view around to the north.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:51
No, giraffes was 2007, now using the same size balloon as provided in 2007 you are required to fashion a water fowl of your choosing.

Hint: the flamingo is bonus points

Anonymous said...

I know this is off the current topic.
My question is, if you see a motorist driving in an erratic manner do you call dispatch or 911?

Tom Casady said...


They are the same place: The City of Lincoln's Emergency Communications Center. We always encourage citizens to call 911 in an emergency, otherwise, call the non-emrgency line, 441-6000. You'd have to use your best judgement on whether a particular episode of bad driving constitutes an emergency, vs. an annoyance.

Anonymous said...

In a post on another topic I asked if a citizen using a phone with video capture could send the photo to a LPD website. In your reply you said you wouldn't want to see a citizen put themselves at risk but to call 911. I should have explained what I meant better in my post.

A lot of citizens witness suspicious behavior on the streets all the time. Things that would not justify a call to 911 but something that might aid Law enforcement in solving crimes. A video record of some of these actions might aid the police in obtaining search warrants or a reason to do a follow up on a tip from a citizen.

There is probably not enough money in the city budget to allow for many video surveillance systems, however it might be cost effective to set up a website where citizens with video cell phones could send in pictures of various suspicious activity that might justify further investigation.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

anon 9:41
What's your point?

Anonymous said...

Me thinks 9:41 is an impostor..... arrrrrg!