MPD latest crime-fighting tool launches Friday

By Christia Gibbons

April 12, 2012 - 2:39 pm
Maricopa Police Chief Steve Stahl meets with residents on the second Saturday of the month. This week he'll talk about the department's new crime-report mapping. Photo by Christia Gibbons.

A new iPhone application and link on the Maricopa Police Department’s website will allow residents to track crime in their neighborhoods and give police officers a jump-start on where to deploy resources.

CrimeReports.com, a national crime map, launches Friday and residents are invited to learn how to use the crime-fighting tool during Coffee with the Chief 8 a.m. Saturday at Maricopa Public Library.

Police Chief Steve Stahl meets with residents informally the second Saturday of the month.

“It’s a new tool to communicate crime trends and activities going on in our city,” Stahl said of the crime-reports software.

Sgt. Leonard Perez, the day shift supervisor, said the crime reports are pulled from daily calls “close to as real time as possible” and provide a means “to better articulate and define where we need our resources so we can be ahead of crime.”

The tool will be an instant help to fighting crime in the city, Perez said. “It increases the communication from officers all the way up to commanders.”

The service lets residents sign up for free customizable email updates, as well. More than a thousand law enforcement agencies nationwide share crime information through the national crime map, including Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

While this month’s topic is the new crime-reports tool, Stahl said he hopes a sip of coffee and a bit of conversation once a month with the chief will coax residents to tell him what’s on their minds.

“I’m a firm believer in listening to what community members have to say about their police,” Stahl said.

He likes to meet out of uniform and with a tumbler of coffee in his hand. (He takes his “black, straight black.”)

“It’s more relaxed, and more people feel compelled to open up and be open with what’s on their minds,” Stahl said. “With a casual conversation we get to the point where people can say what’s good, what’s not, and we can make plans to improve together.”

The chief explores a topic or current event each month: “Something we as a police department feel is important to the city of Maricopa, or something new, some on-going crime trend.”

Maybe someone wants to know what it’s like to be a motor officer, or what a command center at a crime scene entails. Whatever residents want to know about from how calls get dispatched to forming a citizen police academy, Stahl said he wants to hear about it.

“I want people to know this is for them, not me,” he said. “I want people to feel they can come to their chief and have a conversation.”

Stahl said Saturday’s presentation on the crime-report mapping is a preview of things to come. His officers will be able to use the statistics generated by the map to become more efficient.

“I’m trying to give officers the tools to fight crime, have fun, and beat crime to the punch,” he said.

The department is working on other improvements to its website so it is more user-friendly, and Stahl invites the public to offer ideas for the website and topics for future Coffee with the Chief by contacting the department’s public information officer Ricardo Alvarado at Ricardo.Alvarado@maricopa-az.gov, or by calling 520-316-6868.

By the way, it’s bring your own coffee Saturday.
 

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