Online tool shows crimes in your area

February 28, 2008 9:48:15 PM PST
People in Palo Alto can now go online to check out what, if any, crimes have been committed in their neighborhoods. Palo Alto is one of a growing number of cities nationwide providing this free service to its residents.

Palo Alto Police Sergeant Sandra showed us a map which has flagged recent crimes in the downtown area of the city. She is using, a Web site that uses data interfaced with Google Maps.

Information on crimes that occurred the day before is gathered from the computer assisted dispatch records of the Palo Alto Police Department and uploaded to the site every morning at 6:00 a.m.

Then, anyone can go on the site and find out for themselves what crimes occurred in their neighborhood.

"Individuals can now go online anytime of the day and check out a certain area in town and find out exactly what the crime trends are in that particular area," says Palo Alto Sergeant Sandra Brown.

Palo Alto is one of a growing number of police departments in the country which are subscribing to these online crime maps. Businesses also use them.

Realtor Ted Paulin wishes he knew of the website a couple of weeks ago. If he had, Paulin believes he could have sold a home.

"I wish I had this site because I had some people convinced there was a lot of crime around there," says Paulin.

When Paulin went on the Web site, he found a crime-free neighborhood around the property.

San Francisco Police have had their own internet crime map for several years now. Sergeant Steve Mannina says the site has empowered residents of the city.

"They can go to the community meetings and speak about or voice their concerns about certain things that are going on in their areas," says San Francisco spokesperson Sgt Steve Mannina.

The deparment is now upgrading its Web site, which still lacks some of the features of and another competitor