South Portland police add online crime mapping

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Crime reporting and crime fighting in the city now has digital pinpoint accuracy with the introduction of a virtual mapping service.

Police Lt. Frank Clark said the department has introduced a free service called “Raids Online” in a partnership with Reston, Va.-based BAIR Analytics.

“As a resident, you want to know what is going on in your neighborhood,” Clark said. “This is all about working together.

The BAIR company acronym stands for behavioral analysis and intelligence resources, and its software is used throughout the country and internationally by police departments and government agencies.

Locally, the mapping service will be used to report crimes in the city and provide links for residents with information to send tips to police.

The digital map resembles a road map covered by push pins to show where crimes have been reported. By tabbing on a virtual push pin, viewers can see the case number, date and time of the reported offense, with a tab to report information anonymously. Some report details remain undisclosed to protect the victim’s privacy.

Clark said the service, provided free to the department and public by BAIR, helps more than the Police Department.

“(It) empowers the public, putting the same analytical technology used by law enforcement into their hands in order to let them view and interpret information on local criminal activity,” he said.

Clark said the crime map can also benefit people planning to move to the city.

“We regularly get calls from prospective residents, or the parents of young adults and new students moving into the community,” he said. “South Portland is a safe community, but this tool will provide them with the timely and accurate data needed to make the best possible decisions.”

The online crime map can also be viewed at the department website. The  maps are already used by police departments in Auburn, Augusta, Brunswick, Lewiston, Lisbon and Saco.

Site users can also subscribe to daily, weekly or monthly reports detailing activities in the city and its neighborhoods. Free mobile apps for the site are available for iPads and iPhones, and Clark said an app for Android-based phones is on the way.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.