HAYWARD -- Residents can now go online to see what kinds of crimes are occurring in the city and when and where.
"This is an opportunity to look at crime statistics citywide, or in your neighborhood," Police Chief Diane Urban told the City Council on Tuesday during a presentation on the new crime mapping site.
The interactive crime map, at www.hayward-ca.gov/police, lets residents and business owners see the types of crimes happening in their neighborhood by clicking on an icon, Lt. Roger Keener said Wednesday. The search can be refined to date, location and crime type. The information shows up 24 hours after a police report is filed, with the statistics going back six months.
"Hooray," Councilman Al Mendall said at Tuesday's meeting. "I think this will be very popular."
Councilman Greg Jones said the detailing of crimes in the city would help its image.
"I think this will help dispel some of the negative perceptions of crime in our community. It's not as bad as people think," Jones said.
Residents can sign up for up to four daily alerts via email for whenever a new crime takes place. For example, a parent might want to have two updates: one for their neighborhood and also their child's school, Urban told the council.
She encouraged those without home computers to use the free computers at the city's libraries to access the site.
On Wednesday, the site reported
The program has an iPhone app so users can access updates, Keener said. An Android app is being developed.
"This helps our citizens become more vigilant," Urban said. If they see a suspicious person, they might be more likely to contact police if they know there have been burglaries in the area, she said.
Three types of crimes will not be included to protect the victims: sex crimes, domestic violence and child abuse. The police chief added that information would be withheld if it would jeopardize an investigation.
Hayward joins other Bay Area police agencies already on the grid, including Oakland, Alameda, Richmond and San Francisco.
Earlier this year, the police department upgraded its computer system, which integrates dispatching, evidence tracking and maintenance and report writing, Keener said. The upgrade allowed the department to track crimes better and take part in the crime mapping.
"This is bringing us into the 21st century," Urban said.
To see Hayward's crime mapping website, go to www.hayward-ca.gov/police.