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On-line map lets Cape residents track crime

By Staff | Mar 29, 2011

By TIFFANY REPECKI, trepecki@breezenewspapers.com
The Cape Coral Police Department’s interactive map is up and running.
The newest feature to the department’s website, capecops.com, launched Tuesday as part of the agency’s continued community engagement program. The software allows users to map crimes within the city based on category.
“You have the map, you see what’s going on,” Lt. Tony Sizemore, spokesman for the Cape police said. “From anywhere, you’ll be interactive with us.”
Other features recently announced on the site include a Citizens’ Briefing, where users can get a daily breakdown of arrests, incidents and other news of note, and software that allows people to submit tips by web or by phone.
The interactive crime map will also have an iPhone application available.
Sgt. Dana Coston, who is overseeing the website, said the interactive map will identity person and property crimes, traffic, narcotic and drug arrests, among other things. Domestic disturbance calls that result in an arrest will also be noted.
Each incident is flagged on the map with a letter in a colored bubble. The letter stands for what type of incident it is, such as “A” for assault. When users click on an incident bubble, they are given the option to submit a tip.
“It’s completely anonymous,” he said. “It goes right into our inbox and we can farm those out to the officers.”
“It’s really letting us integrate features,” Coston added.
Users can enter a specific address and a pin will appear on the map, allowing them to view the incidents within a small area, or users can enter a ZIP code.
“They can see what’s happening from the very specific to the very general,” he said.
Incidents can also be narrowed by date, from the past three days to 30.
Also available on the interactive map is the option of marking where registered sexual offenders live. Sizemore said the department used to offer a link on its old website to the registry maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“This keeps you on our site. You don’t have to leave,” he said. “It’s a lot faster, a lot more user friendly.”
The department will constantly re-evaluate the feature, enabling and disabling components of the map based on what gets used or not used.
“The end result is that people know they have many different avenues to communicate with us,” Sizemore said. “That they know that they can trust us and come forward.”
With more open lines of communication, the department hopes to increase the fight against crime locally and improve the quality of life in the Cape.
A tutorial on the map is expected to be online by the end of Wednesday.
The interactive software is provided through CrimeReports.
For more information, visit the CCPD’s website at: www.capecops.com.