April 29, 2011

Crime mapping in Lakewood gets a facelift (once it comes on line)

We of course were not surprised when the Sheriff's dept. (LASD) managed to once again drop the ball on crime reporting. We applaud the LASD in trying to find a cheaper (not sure how much cheaper or if better) alternative to crimereports.com which they have been using for some time as we reported. What bothers us the most is that the city of Lakewood NEVER even mentioned crimereports.com on their website or in any other literature we can find. Why? The Press Telegram did not even mention this safu below with the transition to crimemapping.com. We mentioned crimereports.com when we first happened upon it by accident in January 2009. Only time will tell if crimemapping.com gives us better detail and more customization than crimereports.com. In addition, one must remember that these third party privately run websites are only as good and as timely as the data supplied by LASD. One must also remember that these are only incidents that are reported AND where a report is taken or an incident number is assigned. In most cases people don't even bother to report stuff to Lakewood LASD as nothing good ever comes of it. And none of us will ever know how much of that crime goes unreported. (in speaking with some recent victims of Lakewood burglaries we were told by the victims that reporting it to Lakewood LASD was a total waste of time)

When we recently heard of a rash of residential Lakewood burglaries in March and April 2011 we became even more interested in the realtime crime data. Also we learned that the LASD Cerritos substation puts out a weekly crime related email with maps and a very nice one page summary of significant crime trends (and some insight) for residents to keep on the lookout for. Now what puzzled us is why is Cerritos substation putting out these weekly crime reports when Lakewood is not? Could it be that Cerritos has more crime than Lakewood? Hardly. They also have the same Sheriff service Lakewood does. Cerritos LASD also still uses crimereports.com and will be using crimemapping.com in addition to the email summaries they are sending out unlike Lakewood LASD. Its key to note that the emailed reports come from the CITY of Cerritos (crime_information@cerritos.us), not LASD (lasd.org). So there you have it. The difference is that the Cerritos city council acknowledges that crime exists in their city and they want their residents to be aware of an uptick etc in crime or abnormal pattern and the types of crime as well as where the hotspots are. Now on the other hand the Lakewood city council (which happens to have a Sheriff sitting on it) does not want to even acknowledge that there is any crime in Lakewood as this hurts reelection. So the best way to pretend there is no crime in Lakewood is to make sure the city never officially acknowledges any (by sending out crime reports like Cerritos) other than to say at the end of the year "crime is down..." Oh great. What about the rash of burglaries in North Lakewood. Oh well those just get merged into the overall yearly rate. Problem Solved. If you want to dig a little deeper you are on your own. The city of Lakewood is not going to help you and they are not going to ask LASD to help you either. Again as we said before there are lies, damn lies and statistics. Denial is not just a river folks. Again lack of transparency is very "apparent" when you take even a little bit of a closer look at what is going on in this city.

Sheriff's online crime data unavailable as department switches software
By Brian Day, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/28/2011

LOS ANGELES COUNTY - Online public crime information from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is temporarily unavailable as the agency switches to a new crime reporting software, officials said.

For more than a year, the sheriff's department has provided limited information about the type, time and locations of crimes reported to the department via the website Crimereports.com. Several other Los Angeles County agencies, including the Baldwin Park, Covina and Whittier police, also provide crime information to the public via Crimereports.com.

The department has elected to start using a new system, effective this weekend, officials said, and the process has had the unintended consequence of no online crime information being posted on Crimereports.com since April 18.

"We don't know what the glitch was, but we're going to get it fixed," Los Angeles County sheriff's Capt. Michael Parker said.

"It was supposed to be seamless," Parker added of the transition between crime reporting systems.

The sheriff's department has paid for services from Crimereports.com through Saturday, Parker said, so it was unclear why crime data is no longer being updated. Once informed of the issue, authorities began looking into it.

Starting this weekend, Parker said, sheriff's officials will post crime data on the website Crimemapping.com, which is already used by agencies including Pasadena, Los Angeles, Arcadia and Sab Gabriel police.

When sheriff's data begins to show up on Crimemapping.com this weekend, Parker said, it will likely take a week or two to work out all the bugs.

"We expect glitches, because that's what happens when you do a big transition," he said.

Once in place, Crimamapping.com will retroactively pull all crime data from the previous six months

The switch is designed to provide better information to the public at a reduced cost to the sheriff's department, Parker said.

"We have changed systems because we found a system that was less expensive and was able to provide more information to public," he said.

Read more: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_17952798#ixzz1KwU1TI7F

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