Louisville, Ky., residents now have access to crime alerts in a newly revamped online crime mapping tool.

The Louisville Metro Police Department, located in Jefferson County, launched a new online crime mapping tool [http://www.louisvilleky.gov/MetroPolice/CrimeMaps/].

Users can enter their home address into a QuickFind tool to receive crime updates based on which of the county’s eight police divisions they live in. Each division is further divided into different “beats” — or different sections of a division — so citizens can receive more granular crime alerts for where they live.

According to the police department’s website, the crime data only shows reported crime on the Google map — provided by map developing vendor GovMapper — but doesn’t provide information on the “final disposition of the cases.” Jefferson County’s smaller cities, like St. Matthews and Jeffersontown, are excluded from the data.

The Police Department integrated the map with a mass communication tool offered by Saint Paul, Minn.-based digital communications vendor GovDelivery. Previously the department had a crime mapping tool on its website, but the older version was more difficult to navigate, said Beth Niblock, CIO of the Louisville Metro Government.

“One of the things we wanted to do was make it easier for the citizens to get the data and see the data in a more familiar format, and then to allow them to sign up to get notified by text or email on their police division or beat — whatever level they want to do it,” Niblock said.

With the GovDelivery integration, citizens can receive crime notifications or information on general crime trends, said Metro Police Department Lt. Robert Schroeder.

“Say a division commander is noticing a certain neighborhood is suddenly getting hit with car break-ins and they never have before,” Schroeder said. “They can let the citizens in that local area know what’s going on.”

But if users don’t opt to subscribe to the crime notifications, they can still view the reported crimes on the online map, which is updated daily. The map plots crime by type — each represented by a different color. For example, burglary is plotted in yellow and theft in orange. Below the map, each plotted crime is listed with the address where the crime took place.

Louisville is known far and wide as home to the annual Kentucky Derby horse race — and isn’t renowned for spiking crime rates. Niblock said the main driver for the project simply was to improve the existing crime map.

Scott Render, a Louisville Metro Government spokesman, said the starting cost to implement the technology was $300, and $150 monthly to maintain the technology — a figure officials said could increase over time.

Sarah Rich, Staff Writer Sarah Rich  |  Staff Writer

In 2008, Sarah Rich graduated from California State University, Chico, where she majored in news-editorial journalism and minored in sociology. Since 2010, Sarah has written for Government Technology magazine and covers a spectrum of public-sector IT topics, including cloud computing, transparency, broadband, and other innovative projects and trends. She currently lives in Sacramento, Calif.