A new interactive crime map for Minneapolis sends out crime alerts, works with iPhones and Android and comes at a cost any City Councillor would love: free.
It's the brainchild of a Colorado software CEO whose ambition to build the nation's first online crime map has so far garnered hundreds of police agencies across the country, including Milwaukee, Wis., and Sacramento, Calif. Twenty-five police departments and Sheriff's offices in Minnesota use the software, known as Raidsonline. (The name is an acronym for Regional Analysis and Information Sharing.)
Unlike the Minneapolis Police Department's previous crime maps, which were issued weekly, the Raidsonline map gets updated daily. Also new: People can search for certain crimes and restrict the search to a specific area or date range. The Minneapolis map includes crime data going back three years.
The more interactive nature of the maps may enable citizens to better understand what's happening in their neighborhoods, said Police Commander Scott Gerlicher..
"We're hoping this isn't just an informational tool for the public, but that this helps us solve crime," he said.
Built by Bair Analytics Inc., the mapping program was run through some demonstrations at a City Hall press conference Thursday morning. Bair vice president of operations Susan Smith said the company will offer Raidsonline for free to any department that wants it. The company makes its money selling more sophisticated analytical software, but police agencies are under no obligation to buy those products, she said.
Company president and CEO Sean Bair founded the company in 1997. Smith said the company picked up 500 new police agencies last year and expects to have 4,000 signed up for its Raidsonline map by the end of this year.