By MARTHA SMITH
Special to the Standard
NORTH KINGSTOWN – 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 – who is in charge of communications, the department’s computer system and maintaining the mobile computer systems in all the vehicles – he learned about the mapping service and went straight to the top.
“I presented it to the chief [Thomas Mulligan] and he’s all about trying to get out information to the public as quickly as possible.” 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 “the data transmits every day at 6:10 in the morning. We’re always going to be a day behind but it updates once a day.”
He notes that residents can sign up for neighborhood crime watch reports, enter their addresses and specify a radius for which they want updates. “Whenever something happens within that radius, you’ll be notified by email or text or you can log on [to the web site] at any time and see what’s going on.”
Residents can examine a map and grid, request crime watch updates and submit anonymous tips directly to the police. When people use the map, they’ll see not only a list of crimes but also basic information about them including the type of incident, location type – home or business – 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 doesn’t sell lists to outside vendors, he explains, “We 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.”
To access the new site, go to nkpolice.org and click on the link at either the top or bottom of the page.