The Kirkland Police Department has launched an on-line mapping program that allows residents to search for various types of offenses occurring in their neighborhoods in an effort to increase awareness and reduce crime.
The program launched Wednesday is through the website www.crimemapping.com and is funded by a grant from the Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority.
“Kirkland is a safe city, but crime occurs,” said KPD’s Capt. Bill Hamilton. “We’re hoping through this system to reduce victimization. If a person is aware that car prowls are occurring in their neighborhood, they might be more likely to call police if they see something unusual, and to talk to their neighbors.
“We’re really excited about it.”
To access Kirkland crime data, you can go to www.CrimeMapping.com, select Washington State and Kirkland. But the quickest way is to link to the portal from the city’s website at www.kirklandwa.gov/crimemapping.
The touch-control functions on the map are sensitive and take some getting used to. But once mastered the program is quite functional and allows the user to zoom into various neighborhoods and zoom out for a regional perspective. Crimes are marked on the map by icons representing the various types of offenses -- DUIs, car prowls, burglaries, theft, assault, arson.
Browsers can view crime incidents that have occurred within the previous 180 days. Data is transferred from approved police case reports to the system. The system is updated Tuesday through Friday. You can also set up emails alerts for your neighborhood.
“I think a byproduct of this might be trust, when people can actually see these crimes on the map,” said Hamilton. “We don’t want to scare people, but raise awareness of things going on.”
The mapping program will also help officers note crime trends on their beats. The police department also hopes the heightened awareness will get neighbors talking and taking care of each other.
“Sometimes people don’t call police because maybe they’re afraid they’re wrong and don’t want to offend their neighbors,” Hamilton said. “But your neighbor will appreciate it if you help prevent a crime at their property.”
His advice: If anything seems unusual, call police and let them figure it out.
A detailed presentation of the program is planned for the Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods on June 21, 7 p.m., City Hall Council Chambers, 123 5th Avenue. Kirkland neighborhood associations that would like a demonstration can contact Neighborhood Resource Officer Audra Weber at 425-587-3451 or firstname.lastname@example.org.