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Southwest Regional adds crime mapping

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"People clearly want to know what's going on in their community," Southwest Regional Police Chief John Hartman said. "This police department is doing everything it can to make sure that happens."

With that goal in mind, the department utilizes its Facebook page to offer Nixle text warnings and event tweets. Now Southwest has launched a crime mapping system available free to the public.

Southwest indicated it is the first police department to offer the system named RAIDS.

Working with Bair Software Inc., and In-Synch Systems, Southwest started to examine the program three months ago.

In-Synch and Bair worked to integrate the department's records management system with the interactive crime-mapping program.

Southwest had already used In-Synch to enter crime reports.

Using home computers, residents can research crimes in their communities.

Southwest is in the process of entering necessary data to ensure its reporting meets with program parameters. The public can visit the site and see the system as it develops.

The information can be accessed at www.raidsonline.com or www.swrpd.us. Click on the community-oriented police link at Southwest's site to go to the RAID's crime map.

The mapping will only include comm-unities served by Southwest Regional: Belle Vernon and Newell in Fayette County; Long Branch, Coal Center, Cokeburg, Bentleyville and Union Township in Washington County; and Perry and Wayne townships in Greene County.

The mapping does not give victims' names or the street address. It lists the type of crime and the street on which the crime occurred. The system does not provide information on crimes handled by state police in Southwest Regional's coverage area.

Hartman said Southwest Regional Detective Steve Schwartz found RAIDS while researching crime mapping.

"We contacted them and found out no one else had contacted them," Hartman said.

"Since we've been on board, a police department in the Harrisburg area and another in South Carolina is inquiring about it."

Hartman said Southwest Regional has always tried to be as transparent as possible.

"We're in the era of right-to-know, want-to-know," Hartman said. "If people know, they can better prepare themselves and feel more secure."

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