The Milford Police Department has begun embarking on a worthwhile — and essentially cost-free — effort to give Milford residents a point of reference for crimes that have taken place in the township and village of Milford. The crime mapping tool now available at the Police Department’s website is something that other departments in west Oakland County should consider implementing, if they haven’t done so already, as a way to keep their residents informed of the criminal goings-on in the community, as well as make the community more vigilant.
The department is now using an Internet-based crime mapping system that can be accessed through a link on the department’s website, www.milfordpolice.com. The crime map — which uses maps from the search engine Bing — is also available by visiting crimemapping.com.
The site allows users to conduct queries and receive crime alerts about incidents within a certain radius around a home or business, as well as to search for specific types of crimes.
The department’s contract with the Omega Group will cost $600 in the first year, but that cost will be prorated back to the department as part of the department’s partnership with the Oakland County Courts and Law Enforcement Management Information System, effectively making the department’s participation in the system free.
Crimemapping.com does not post the specific location of where a crime took place, but blocks out the last two numbers of an address. The point of reference for a location is the center of the roadway where the address is located.
Crimes can be searched as far back as six months, with the case number, date and time of the incident and a brief description appearing in a pop-up window after clicking on an icon indicating the type of crime that was committed.
However, information about sex-related crimes are not released and will not be posted due to victims’ rights and the sensitivity of the issue.
Large communities like Novi and Livonia already use the service, and it seems a worthwhile way to help the public stay informed about crimes in their respective communities. For example, knowing that a larceny took place on a particular street could cause those who live on and around it to be more vigilant about suspicious activities. The same thinking applies to the Michigan Sex Offender Registry, where knowing that a sex offender is living in your neighborhood causes you to keep a closer eye on what’s going on around you.
In addition, the crime mapping system is essentially free. For the paltry up-front costs that are reimbursed, implementing the system in other communities would be a worthwhile endeavor.