Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) has teamed up with CrimeReports, an online crime data mapping service, to provide nearly real-time information about crime on campus.
The map, accessible online at ndsp.nd.edu/crime-information-and-clery-act/safety-beat-map, is a customizable graphic that shows various incidences of crimes reported around campus.
“CrimeReports partners with police agencies and pulls information directly from police departments’ reporting systems, and it updates the crime map,” says Keri Kei Shibata, assistant chief for safety services. NDSP will regularly look over the map to make sure the information reported is accurate, she says.
The interactive map posts pins where incidents were reported, along with small icons symbolizing what type of crime occurred. Clicking on a pin will open a pop-up that gives more information about the incident. Information can be sorted by dates and types of reports. The map also includes a tab labeled “incident details,” where CrimeReports breaks down the specified data into charts and graphics to more easily identify trends. The most common incidents at Notre Dame are thefts and liquor offenses.
“It’s a great tool for police departments,” says Shibata. “We have our own account and can do some more (in-depth) analytics with the crime data. We can look at certain areas, types of crime, days of the week. We’re encouraging our officers to use it to look at the area they’re assigned to see how they can be patrolling—if there have been a lot of bike thefts, they can look at the time of day, and be out there and pay special attention to the bike racks.”
The information NDSP provides is strictly for the Notre Dame campus and the areas the department patrols, but Shibata says the Mishawaka and South Bend police departments are both currently using the program. St. Joseph County does not provide information to CrimeReports.
Reports of incidents are mapped as accurately as possible, Shibata says, but addresses are not always specific: “If something happens in the middle of South Quad or on either end of South Quad, it’ll show up on the map in the middle of South Quad.”
The information is available to anyone who is interested. “Anyone from the public can go in and look at it. You can set up your own account, and set up alerts for the areas you’re interested in.”
People are able to set up a free account with CrimeReports to have email alerts sent to them. Users can tailor the alerts to specific areas and different kinds of crime, and can set up multiple alerts centered around, for example, the user’s workplace, home and children’s school. CrimeReports also has an iPhone app available free in the iTunes store.
An additional benefit to teaming with CrimeReports, Shibata says, is that users can also submit anonymous tips to NDSP. “We had a burglary at Jordan Hall of Science that was reported at 9 a.m. on Dec. 3,” Shibata says. “Maybe I work at Jordan Hall and I get an alert, and I think, ‘Hey, I saw something suspicious that I didn’t think much of then.’” A button on the website allows users to submit tips to NDSP, who can then contact the submitter for more information using TipSoft, a software program that keeps the tipsters anonymous.