The Carrollton Police Department is the latest to join police across the state on the RAIDS Online crime database.
The Regional Analysis and Information Sharing system, better known as RAIDS Online, is an interactive crime mapping database that allows the public to go online and track crimes happening across the community.
"We're not holding anything back,” said Detective Ken Pace who runs the system for the Carrollton PD. “We'll put it up there and you'll see Carrollton has its share of crimes.”
Users can chose which crimes the map shows them based on the type of crime, when it happened, and where it happened. Pace says this gives users the opportunity to track their own individual neighborhoods.
"A lot of people, you know, they go to work, they come home, and they're maybe not aware of what's going on in the neighborhood, so this gives them a free easy place to see what's going on,” said Pace.
Residents can also use the database to send in tips on recent crimes to help police solve new and on-going problems.
Officer Jon Stovall says they’ve already identified at least one suspect in a string of indecent exposure cases from such tips.
"We've already had a couple of success stories with this and we haven't been live with this particular map software very long,” said Stovall. "In turn maybe they'll call us when they see problems in their area or just give us some tips that will help us do our jobs better."
Carrollton has used similar systems in the past but Pace says this is by far the most intricate and user friendly.
The department manually inputs the data rather than having the information automatically funnel into the system. Pace says that’s a plus because the maps don’t get clogged by the many calls that don’t pan out into anything.
Plus the system is online in communities across the United States.
There are a handful of cities in North Texas participating – including Dallas, Denton, Collin County, Coppell, Farmers Branch, and Highland Village.
Carrollton police are encouraging other departments to sign on as well so everyone can better track crimes throughout the community.
“Criminals don’t follow boarders,” said Stovall.
Pace says in many cases they won't give an exact address of a crime to protect the victims; especially in the cases involving sexual crimes or crimes against children.
You can access the RAIDS Online for free by going to a participating department’s website or click here.
They also offer an app on the iPhone and iPad.