Cleveland residents can now track crime around them - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Cleveland residents can now track crime around them

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CLEVELAND, TN. (WRCB) - Ever wonder what crimes are committed closest to home? The Cleveland Police Department hopes to make its residents more aware, by using an online program that maps out crime for the public to see.

It's called Crime Reports. The Cleveland Police Department went live with it this week. Now any time an officer fills out an incident report, info goes to an online map, showing any one curious the crimes going on in their neighborhoods.

You go to www.crimereports.com, type in your address and suddenly the screen is dressed with a bunch of little markers, showing you what crime happened, when and, perhaps most importantly, where.

"If they see where the crimes are occurring, I think they'll be more alert and more apt to watch," Cleveland Police Captain Dennis Maddux says.

"The more knowledge we have, the better off we are," Cleveland resident Sarah Bandy says.

Others say there's such thing as too much info, because it sparks fear and gets the rumor mill churning.

"We may be carrying something like that a little too far," Cleveland resident Gary Blair says.

As soon as an officer files an incident report, the information shows up at that address-- anything from break-ins, to vandalism, assaults, even pictures of registered sex offenders. Captain Maddux says it can change the way people go about their everyday lives.

"If I know there's a crime occurring on my street, I'm going to be a little more alert as to the traffic that flows in and the people that flow in and out," Captain Maddux says.

The public can see exactly what the officers are seeing in almost real-time.

"We can study crime in certain areas and we can study times. We can build crime trend charts," Captain Maddux says.

"I think the crime rate has increased and we need more protection by the police and I think it will help them," Bandy says.

You can also anonymously submit tips to police.

"They don't want to feel that they are putting themselves in danger by reporting a crime," Captain Maddux says.

This will cost the department $6,000 a year.

"A small expense for the value," Captain Maddux says.

"I feel that it's money well spent if there's follow up," Bandy says.

"I think the sheriff's office should follow up and do the same thing," Bradley County resident Johnny Dewayne Hicks says.

The Chattanooga Police Department and Hamilton County Sheriff's Office both subscribe to Crime Reports.

The Cleveland Police Department says it noticed the need, in the switch from paper to all electronic filing. Officers didn't know what had gone on the shift before them. They say this makes it much easier for everyone to be on the same page.

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