UPDATED: CrimeReports surpasses 80 million crimes mapped

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CrimeReports, a unit of PublicEngines has surpassed 80 million crimes mapped on its software. CrimeReports is an online platform that can be integrated with any public safety agency’s records management system to publish local crime data, improve agency transparency, and create more two-way dialogue with citizens. PublicEngines provides cloud-based solutions that facilitate crime analysis, supply actionable intelligence and increase community engagement for law enforcement, schools, and governments. CivSource spoke with PublicEngines CEO, William Kilmer about the milestone and PublicEngines latest software release.

CrimeReports has been working with local law enforcement agencies since 2007 to bring crime data online. “The best thing about our software is that it’s all automated. We can pull down that data and map it ourselves and get that information out to the public quickly,” Kilmer says.

So far, more than 1000 law enforcement agencies are on board. Kilmer explains that as each new law enforcement agency comes online the company works directly with chiefs of police and public affairs officers to ensure accuracy and timelines of information. “The chiefs see this as a goodwill effort to get crime information out to the public,” he explains.

Individuals are then able to view local crime data in near real-time, share crime information with their friends, and even submit anonymous tips about crime with their local police agency.

The software is now in its third version which was released earlier this week. Of the 80 million records on their maps, Kilmer noted that while the number reflects the addition of more law enforcement agencies on to the application there is another troubling trend beginning to emerge. “You’re starting to see the effects of budget cuts to law enforcement show up in these entries. Some areas have had crime go down, but crime is actually starting to tick back up in larger cities, and that tends to happen when you cut the number of police officers and patrols.”

PublicEngines offers a number of applications focused on crime reporting and connecting the dots around public safety. In addition to the new version of CrimeReports, the company just released CityConnect which essentially takes police departments or city agencies online with a comprehensive fully branded application. CityConnect acts as a mobile version of all of the PublicEngines products in one application.

On the police department or agency side, public officials can create a branded crime mapping application that also includes a text alert system and a tip line. On the user side, individuals see an app for their city, and can view the data or make reports.

UPDATE: In response to comments on this story, we followed up with William Kilmer, CEO of PublicEngines, asking him about whether PublicEngines privatizes public crime data as some have suggested their terms of use says it does. He told us the following, “I can clarify and say that is absolutely not the case. We publish their data to our map, but it in no way restricts their use of the data or their ability to provide it to others. It is their data and they can reuse it how they like. On our own site we restrict the ability of users to take the data as we present it and scrape it, because we have had that happen in the past, and as part of our agreement with law enforcement agencies to maintain the integrity of their data and protect our own site we put those protections in place. Now, if someone wants to go to a law enforcement agency and ask for that data or the law enforcement agency itself wants to do something else with it, they can do whatever they want with their crime data, that’s public information.”