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November 28, 2012

New website lets residents keep up on crime

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

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New website lets residents keep up on crime
Residents can see exactly where crime is happening in Birmingham thanks to the website Crimedar. This image depicts the crime log map in Birmingham for Nov. 20.

BIRMINGHAM — With the help of a few new tech-savvy tools, residents in Birmingham can help fight crime in their own backyard.

As of Nov. 21, the Birmingham Police Department is now enlisting the help of a website called Crimedar, where residents can track crime in the city by viewing reported incidents on a map. Users can also see the date, time, location and description of cases with just the click of a mouse.

“We’re taking this proactive approach to help residents visually see potential crime patterns taking place in the city,” said Birmingham Police Chief Don Studt in a prepared statement. “Our goal is to create a partnership between the community and our department with this interactive tool.”

By logging onto www.crimedar.com/birmingham-michigan, viewers can see a Google map with icons depicting various types of crimes, from home invasions to drunken driving arrests. According to Cmdr. Terry Kiernan of the BPD, domestic incidents and juvenile crimes will still be off-limits from public view as they’ve been in the past.

When users click on the map’s icons, they’ll be able to read a brief summary of the incident. Crime icons will remain on the map for two weeks, at which time they’re saved to the site’s archive. Kiernan says the idea is to get residents to visit the site frequently and notice patterns of crime in their own neighborhood.

“If you start seeing a bunch of larcenies from autos in your neighborhood, it’s an indication that maybe you should raise your awareness,” he said. “Locking your vehicle, not parking in the street—stuff you should be doing anyways, but maybe your awareness needs to be brought up to a higher level.”

Though the site is still a work in progress, Kiernan says he expects Crimedar to be updated with the weekly reports each Wednesday afternoon.

In addition to keeping up with Crimedar, BPD is also encouraging residents to join the Nixle Community Information Service. Introduced earlier this year, Nixle is an alert service that provides residents with breaking public safety news instantly via cell phone text messages or email. Birmingham residents can register by visiting www.nixle.com or by sending a text message with the ZIP code 48009 to 888777.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.