New technology aids R.I. police departments

Posted 5/23/12

PROVIDENCE – The Providence Police Department has joined the Cranston and Warwick police departments in using crime prevention tools from CrimeReports to enlist public interaction.

CrimeReports – developed by Public Engines – is an online crime map where local residents can access and track crime in their area through the web or through e-mail alerts.

“We are a community-based organization and this new sharing tool goes hand-in-hand with our community-based philosophy of being more open, approachable, and accountable,” said Chief Hugh Clements of the Providence Police Department. “This is a partnership of inclusion with the community who will have accurate and timely information of crime in their particular neighborhoods as well as throughout the city.”

In addition to CrimeReports, the agencies are also CommandCentral, a product that provides detailed real-time crime information in the hands of officers to analyze, solve, and prevent crimes.

“Although the department could have gotten either CommandCentral or CrimeReports individually,” Chief Stephen McCartney of the Warwick Police Department said, “the department opted for both not only for transparency, but for greater intelligence led policing.”

The Providence and Cranston police have also deployed TipSoft, an interactive communication tool that allows citizens to submit anonymous tips to law enforcement agencies through the web, text messages, or apps for the iPhone and the Android.

According to a report, across the country, TipSoft has received more than 2 million tips to date, resulting in 145,000 arrests, 55,000 apprehended fugitives, 11,000 recovered vehicles, $5.3 billion in recovered drugs and property and 22,000 recovered weapons.

“If you have either a cell phone or smart phone and know how to send a text, you know how to use TipSoft,” said Marco Palombo, Chief of the Cranston Police Department. “And with TipSoft, we can communicate back and forth with the public while maintaining the sources anonymity.”

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