With the launch of Google Earth to the masses in 2005, companies such as Crimemapping.com, CrimeReports.com and EveryBlock.com emerged with software to help police forces everywhere crack down and stop crime in their communities.  Now we’re not talking about RoboCop or Tom Cruises’ Minority Report, where crime was stopped before it was committed, no we’re talking about crime being posted on maps to help Police forces.

According to the Wall Street Journal article “New Programs Put Crime Stats on Map” By: Bobby White, “Police say they use the sites to help change citizens’ behavior toward crime and encourage dialogue with communities so that more people might off tips or leads.  Some of the sites have crime-report blogs that examine activity in different locals.  They also allow residents to offer tips and report crimes under way.”

The purpose of this use is quite fascinating in that the police have found a way to bypass the slower local media and be able to send out emails to citizens and have them aware of criminal situations in their neighborhoods.  Also it allows for people to be aware of something that they never thought actually existed, the article mentions a women in Maryland who did not know that there were burglaries going on only a block or two away from her home, and she has since locked her doors and windows.

Now what I believe the map services will do for police departments everywhere is allow them to coordinate their patrol cars more effectively and in a time where many towns and cities across the nation are slashing officers, the more efficient the patrols the better.  By homing in on ‘hotspots’ of criminal activity, police forces will be more efficient and more effective when fighting crime.  Now add in the fact that people have helped the police as the article describes, and you have a more effective and more efficient police force.

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