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April 21, 2010 > Crime data online

Crime data online

By Shavon Walker

Union City Police Department (UCPD) announced a partnership with PoliceReports.US and CrimeReports.com on April 13. Both programs are available to citizens online.

CrimeReports.com is a website that helps local law enforcement agencies share and analyze data in a way they can manage and control. It is low cost and the largest crime mapping network in the world.

When a crime occurs, a crime report is automatically completed by the officers who attend the scene and immediately uploaded to the CrimeReports.com website. Other law enforcement agencies can then access this data and create maps of crime-ridden spots, identify trends and generate statistics about specific problems.

Citizens can access the site gratis. Google maps interface facilitates navigation and eliminates the need for users to sift through information in other formats such as Public Records Act requests, and will reduce UCPD costs by streamlining research and record keeping. The data is updated nightly.

Visitors to the site are first shown a Google map with locations for crimes in the last 14 days. They can choose to add or remove additional crime types or specify a date range. The date and time of the crime, address rounded to block level, distance from the location originally entered and narrative field defined by agency display in a bubble.

PoliceReports.us allows the police department to distribute traffic collision reports online. Almost all collision reports are accessible except for juvenile injury cases, fatal accidents, collisions involving law enforcement agencies and collisions involving arrests. By distributing reports online, UCPD will further reduce costs. Counter staff can be deployed more productively and paper, printer, phone, fax and postage expenses will be reduced.

To access a report online, visit www.unioncityca.policereports.us, select a state, choose the police department, followed by "Reports."

The report must be identified by report number, date of accident and last name of involved party. Certification is requested, such as the driver, owner and insurance company named in the report. The requester's identity must be given, including insurance and report retrieval business, if there is one, and the citizen may pay the $3.50 fee by credit card. Businesses must have a pre-paid account. Those without Internet access may continue to request a report in person.

UCPD will fund public access to safety records via the Internet through fiscal year 2011-12 using a Justice Assistance Grant already in place.

For more information and to access reports, visit www.UnionCity.org (and click on the "Union City Crime Reports" icon), www.CrimeReports.com and www.PoliceReports.us.

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