Danville police looking to increase transparency, community interaction with new crime map

Crime map makes crime information easily accessible for public

DANVILLE, Va. – The community crime map allows anyone with an internet connection to see what, when and where crimes are occurring.

The map also has graphs that show what days and times crimes are frequently being committed as well as a feature that shows what parts of the city are hot spots for crime.

Danville Police Department Lt. Mike Wallace says the goal is to help build trust with the community by being more transparent.

"I'm hoping what's going to happen, it's going to convince the public that we're not trying to hide anything from them," Wallace said.

The map could also help increase transparency between officers, allowing them to more effectively deal with crime, potentially strengthening the police-community relationship.

"It's not just your beat. It's other beats as well, and you can actually make those connections. You can go in there and drill down and look, and maybe you have some of the same actors in those crimes," Wallace said.

The Martinsville Police Department has been using the map for about two years.

Deputy Police Chief Robert Fincher said it has made officers more efficient and accountable, which has helped build the community's trust.

"They are...using this to kind of decide where we need to concentrate our patrol efforts at," Fincher explained. "With the citizens, they can go and see that their report was filed and their report is showing what it should show."

The system has been so beneficial, in fact, that the department is now also using a second, similar system that gives officers more frequent updates and a more detailed breakdown of the crimes occurring.

Outside of the small initial cost to get the map connected to the department's incident reporting system, using the map is free for departments.

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