DataByte: When Public Knowledge Is Being Safe.

When you hear statistics about crime in our community, how do you relate? Is crime something that you are concerned about in your neighborhood? This tool is a way for you to know exactly what is going on in your community.

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The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department and Sarasota Police makes crime data available on an interactive GIS-based map called Crime Mapping. This tool lets you punch in your address, select a radius of up to 1-mile, and see if there have been instances of crime that have recently occurred in your neighborhood.

The interactive map gives users the location, date, time and description of the crime, as well as a case number for follow-up. There is also an option to receive crime alerts via text/email that provide detailed reports about instances in your neighborhood.

The partnership between the Sheriff’s Department and Crime Mapping works to reduce crime and keep the community safe by keeping residents up to date about the activity in their neighborhoods. The mapping of crimes provides an image from which public safety agencies can manage their resource and become more efficient. (Check out this article on big data and public safety). Also, mapping of crime data is useful to residents like you and I because we might be more inclined to take measures of crime prevention if we are aware of crimes in the areas we frequent most.

For example, children and youth who might be prone to wander or walk home from school will know to avoid certain areas that might be more prone to incidences of crime. And while it’s always a good idea to lock our cars and put the alarm on the house, knowing about instances of crime, and type of crime, is helpful in reinforcing these preventative actions.

 What other benefits can a tool like this have for community residents and our public safety departments?

*Remember, the closer you get to your block, the less symbols you will see! Also, please remember that not all sheriff and police departments work with this nifty tool, so - no, Tampa does not have a zero crime rate!