By MARTHA SMITH
Special to the Standard
NORTH KINGSTOWN â€“ The police department has launched an online crime mapping system to provide up-to-the-minute information to town residents concerned about such things as speeding, break-ins or other problems occurring in their neighborhoods.
According to Patrol Officer Kevin Gleason â€“ who is in charge of communications, the departmentâ€™s computer system and maintaining the mobile computer systems in all the vehicles â€“ he learned about the mapping service and went straight to the top.
â€śI presented it to the chief [Thomas Mulligan] and heâ€™s all about trying to get out information to the public as quickly as possible.â€ť After receiving the go-ahead, Gleason adds, the department partnered with BAIR Analytics Inc. to create the user-friendly site called RAIDS Online.
Gleason set up the system so â€śthe data transmits every day at 6:10 in the morning. Weâ€™re always going to be a day behind but it updates once a day.â€ť
He notes that residents can sign up for neighborhood crime watch reports, enter their addresses and specify a radius for which they want updates. â€śWhenever something happens within that radius, youâ€™ll be notified by email or text or you can log on [to the web site] at any time and see whatâ€™s going on.â€ť
Residents can examine a map and grid, request crime watch updates and submit anonymous tips directly to the police. When people use the map, theyâ€™ll see not only a list of crimes but also basic information about them including the type of incident, location type â€“ home or business â€“ the block it occurred in plus the date and time.
Sean Bair, a former police officer who founded BAIR Analytics, says his company is proud to provide the service free to NK at a time when agencies spend thousands of dollars annually through other crime-mapping providers.
Assuring people that BAIR keeps information confidential and doesnâ€™t sell lists to outside vendors, he explains, â€śWe wanted to do something to help law enforcement in these tough economic times. We consider this a basic service that we are more than happy to provide to the public and our law enforcement friends.â€ť
To access the new site, go to nkpolice.org and click on the link at either the top or bottom of the page.