BATH

Bath and Richmond police departments have announced they now offer a new online crime map that allows the public to stay informed about crime going on in their communities.

Live since late last week in both Bath and Richmond, RAIDS Online provides a crime map that analyzes crime data. It can also alert citizens about crimes in their area and allows police departments to alert the public about crimes as they occur.

Bath Police Chief Michael Field said that in the information age, everyone expects information at the click of a mouse. And with just a click of a mouse, this system will allow Bath residents to get information about what is going on in their city and neighborhood and even sign up for neighborhood watch reports.

The system syncs with the department’s records systems to keep crime information updated online as well as in a free mobile app. Viewers can display incidents on a map or grid, and access basic information about incidents including type of crime, the block-level address, date and time. Crimes also can be viewed by category.

RAIDS Online, provided to law-enforcement agencies for free by BAIR Analytics Inc., allows each agency to control what information it releases to the public. Bath Police Department, for example, chose not to release information on certain crimes to ensure the privacy of victims, such as cases of sex offenses. No specific addresses are reported.

Richmond Police Chief Scott MacMaster said the information provided to the public by RAIDS Online is information currently available to the public and is also a good resource for citizens to have because it allows them to see what crimes are taking place in their own neighborhood and see the crimes their police department is dealing with every day.

“And a lot of times folks go to bed at 9 o’clock at night and they don’t see what happens after that,” MacMaster added, so this is a good way for them to stay in tune with local crime activity. It isn’t a tax dollar-initiated program but one that is free for the department and it is free for people to go to the website to check it out. Richmond Police Department crimes viewed on the website will offer viewers an opportunity to submit anonymous tips to the department to aid in investigations.

Topsham Police Department was the first agency within Sagadahoc County to implement RAIDS Online and went live in August. The Sagadahoc County Communications Center dispatches for all law enforcement agencies within the county, and that was the first place Topsham Police Chief Christopher Lewis went to inquire about the feasibility of the program.

Dispatcher Mark McDonald said Friday that he began his hours of research on Aug. 5, tackling how to implement RAIDS. Described by Brodie Hinckley, the communications center director, as a computer guru, McDonald said he had the system up and running about a week later. The RAIDS program interfaces with the county’s computer aided dispatch (CAD) system and automatically pulls records, filters them and sends the correct records to RAIDS. Many CAD systems use similar software so the RAIDS Online program can work with a variety of CAD software, McDonald said.

Sheriff Joel Merry confirmed Friday that Sagadahoc County Sheriff ’s Department will also be bringing the free crime mapping system online soon. Brunswick and Lisbon police departments also have implemented RAIDS Online.

According to the RAIDS Online website, “Providing crime mapping and tips to the community helps law enforcement keep the public aware of crime, it builds trust with their citizens and it improves communication between the public and law enforcement. By allowing law enforcement to provide these services to the public at no cost through RAIDS Online, BAIR reduces any barriers for law enforcement to use public crime mapping as a crime reduction strategy.”

To access the new crime maps, visit www.raidsonline.com and click on the state of Maine. The RAIDS Online Mobile app is available for free on the App Store. For more information visit www.bairanalytics.com.



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