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West Orange Times & Observer Sunday, Sep. 25, 2016 9 months ago

Ocoee police improves crime analysis with new software

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With access to a web-based crime mapping tool, the Ocoee Police Department can improve their own patrol strategies and provide residents crime data in their area.
by: Gabby Baquero Staff Writer

The Ocoee Police Department recently acquired subscription access to web software that enables them enhance communication between the department and Ocoee residents.

At a yearly subscription cost of $600 to $700, the new software enables Ocoee officers to create their own crime-analysis maps, rather than wait for the records department to make a crime report available.

“We like this tool because even a patrol sergeant can go ahead and research specific crimes to determine where to place our officers during briefings and even create their own crime-analysis map, if they wanted to,” said Steve McCosker, interim deputy chief for OPD. “So it allows them to decide where it is best to put our officers without having  to wait for the crime-analysis report to come out from our employee that does that.”

Crime analysis is an important part of reducing crime because the method uses statistics involving times and locations to find crime patterns and trends, permitting cops to coordinate a plan and use their resources more effectively.

“One example that happened recently is that people were stealing white vans from outside the city and then dropping them off here in our city,” McCosker said, referencing a successful mission in which they used crime-analysis mapping techniques. “So (the crime-analysis expert) was tracking where these vans were getting dropped off, which eventually led us to have a more directed patrol, and we were able to find out that they were using a public-storage unit to hide the stuff they were stealing with those vans.”

The website is also a boon to residents because it provides an interactive map with a customizable search feature that allows users to keep themselves up to date on crime in their area. Users even can set up text alerts regarding criminal activity near them.

“It allows (residents) to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in their neighborhood,” McCosker said. “When we get questions during our Coffee With A Cop events or during HOA meetings, we get questions, specifically, about what’s going on in their neighborhood and this (web-based tool) allows people to have access to that information anytime they want.” 

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Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected].

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