CARMEL, Ind. — Several Central Indiana police departments share the locations of various crimes with the public in near real time – The Carmel Police Department joined that list last week.
CPD announced its Crime Watch Dashboard in an effort to promote transparency with the public and help prevent future crimes from taking place.
“Carmel is a safe area but, you know, these types of property crimes occur everywhere,” Carmel Police Department Public Information Officer Lieutenant Tim Byrne said. “It’s good for people, I think, just to be able to access that information and see what trends may be going on, what’s been happening in their area.”
Burglaries, thefts, criminal mischief, residential entry and vehicle theft – some of the crimes now mapped on CPD’s dashboard. Lt. Byrne says trends like thefts from a vehicle are on the rise in Carmel, the crime map can help identify potential trends by group them.
“Essentially property crimes which are the crimes that the original neighborhood crime watch, when we talked with them, they said that these are the crimes that we’re interested in and the things that we’d like to know about,” Lt. Byrne said. “People want to have that information so that they can be aware and then maybe take steps to prevent something like that from happening to them.”
This isn’t the first time CPD has shared crime data with the public – but it is the first time they’ve done so in near real time. In the past, CPD sent out a physical letter or an email to interested residents weekly.
“It’s essentially, it’s a near real time… near real time information for those people to access,” Lt. Byrne said. “This updates every 24 hours and it’s searchable up to, back to 365 days – so it gives a lot more information, and a lot more current information and it’s a lot easier for our citizens to access.”
Besides knowing where crimes took place, Byrne suggests locking your doors, keeping a light on your porch at night, keeping valuables out of sight in your car and keeping car doors locked too.
“Doing those types of things, I think, go a long way to prevent a person from becoming a victim in the first place and I think the more we can share the information that of what is going on and the trends that are going on in the city – that’s just another piece of information that people can arm themselves with to help prevent becoming a victim,” Lt. Byrne said. “If we can get the word out and remind people that hey, this is happening in the area, it can happen, it does happen, and if you take some steps to protect yourself and insulate yourself, from these types of things you may be able to prevent becoming a victim.”
CPD says they may expand the map to include other, more serious crimes in the future.
“I don’t want to put a timetable on that, give a specific yes or no but I think it’s important to continue to build those bridges to be as transparent as we possibly can. I think that helps to build the trust with the public that we serve,” Lt. Byrne said. “Our job is to serve and protect those citizens of the city of Carmel and these types of tools are just more ways that we can go about doing that in a more effective and efficient manner.”