By MICHELLE REITER
If you want to see what crimes are happening in Findlay and where, the Findlay Police Department has set up an easy way to find out through a Google Maps link.
Officer Brian White from the Findlay Police Department said the map, powered through Google, is meant to keep the public and law enforcement apprised of what’s happening when and where.
“It’s another way to get information to the public,” White said. “It’s a visual representation of what’s going on.”
The map displays about every reportable crime, including: property damage, theft, injury and non-injury crashes, theft from vehicles, assault, burglary, breaking and entering, telephone harassment, fraud, suspicious persons and even bicycle thefts.
It is easily navigated by zooming in on the map and clicking on the icons. Each one represents a different crime, and a legend is available at the left of the map.
A hot pink gun represents a robbery. A blue circle with a car in it represents a non-injury crash. A red circle with a car in it represents an injury crash. A yellow car represents a theft from a vehicle. Assaults and domestic disputes are purple.
Once you click on an icon, what the crime was and the date it happened appears on the left side of the screen.
Another way to navigate the map is to begin at the left side of the screen, which lists reported crimes by month in chronological order. Anyone can look up what’s happened in March and April so far by clicking on crimes and their icons listed under the month heading.
The information is limited to what happened, where and when. Sometimes specific addresses are available and sometimes not, but you can always see where they occurred on the map and get a general location. For example, a burglary occurred March 7 at 1219 Fox St. The description says, “House entered and dog put on leash.”
When someone clicks on the burglary listed on the left of the screen, the icon and location are enlarged on the left so you can see where it is.
The site makes it easy to see what’s happening in your own neighborhood, near your children’s school and near your work. It is hard to compile broader information, however, without intense investigation, such as where most robberies and assaults occur and when.
Some information is closely guarded, White said, including victims of sexual assault and most crimes involving children as victims. The priority is to protect victim’s identities, though the Police Department keeps its own statistics on those cases.
But anyone with access to the Internet can see what’s happened near them recently. You can even search the map for a location, which then appears at the center of the map.
White said there are many ways of gathering this information and other sites will help, but the Google site is free and therefore costs the department nothing to operate.
“Ideally, people will see the police cars down the street, and they can look on this site and see what it was,” White said. “In the past, they may never find what happened.”
For questions about the map or how to access it, call White at the Findlay Police Department at 419-424-7282.
Send an E-mail to Michelle Reiter