Articles

Skagit County, Wash., Launches Crime Map

"It is a great example of a collaborative effort between law enforcement and those in the computer technology field working to make our communities safer"

by / July 12, 2006
Skagit County Washington's new crime map is now online for public use. Utilizing Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, law enforcement personnel and the public can now access online crime statistics in a small area expanded out to the entire county.

Skagit County Courthouse
The new system tracks crime by region and incident, mapping property crimes, crimes against person, motor vehicle incidents, domestic violence, violent crimes, drug/alcohol problems, fraud, civil, and other incidents. "It is a great tool for identifying trends and patterns," said Chief Criminal Deputy Will Reichardt. "It helps us identify where to focus our resources."

The reliable, easy-to-understand data is an excellent planning tool that provides a clear, graphical presentation of complex layers of information.

The map is a transparent tool that allows citizens to keep an eye on crime occurring in their neighborhood, said the county in a release. "Awareness is the first step toward prevention," said Reichardt.

And the numbers show how popular it is. Traffic to the mapping section, said the county's Mike Almvig, was higher than any other single day's hits except for last year's November election. "We also are using XML data sent to our ESRI GIS systems," said Almvig. "This baby is state of the art."

"Utilizing GIS technology is an important tool in maximizing public safety through crime prevention, emergency management and confronting catastrophes," said Reichardt. "Having this information at our fingertips is an incredible tool that we will use every day."

Cooperating in the project were the cities of Mount Vernon, Burlington, Sedro-Woolley, Anacortes, and the County Sheriff. "A lot of talented people spent a great deal of effort putting this project together," said Reichardt. "It is a great example of a collaborative effort between law enforcement and those in the computer technology field working to make our communities safer."