Any crime reported to Hemet police now shows up within hours on an online map, part of a new service designed to help the public and police spot potential hotspots or crime sprees.
The map, which the department began using in July, displays the approximate location — accurate to within a block — of every crime that officers substantiate, along with icons indicating whether it’s a commercial burglary, motor vehicle theft or other type of crime.
“At Hemet PD, we think it’s really important to be transparent,” Police Chief Rob Webb said. “We find that if we keep our citizens educated, they can not only be our eyes and ears on the street, they can help us see patterns.”
The map can be seen at http://communitycrimemap.com/.
The LexisNexis Risk Solutions map replaces another online map, www.crimereports.com, that Hemet previously used.
Both are a helpful service, but Mayor Michael Perciful worries that the city gets a bad rap when its crimes show up on the map but nearby agencies appear to have no crime because they don’t use the service.
“So when you look at these maps, it looks like our city has a whole bunch of crime and there’s very little crime in neighboring areas, which isn’t actually true,” Perciful said. “I think it would be better if all the agencies participated, but we all know they don’t.”
The new map shows crimes from two Inland police departments — Hemet and Cathedral City — with other clusters in Orange and Los Angeles counties. The other map includes several other local agencies, including Murrieta and Riverside.
Webb said he was aware of that concern.
“I can’t comment on what other agencies are doing, but I don’t worry about what they’re reporting,” he said. “All I can say is we think it’s important to be transparent, and we report every crime.”
The new map costs about $3,000 per year, a price tag that’s similar to the old system, Webb said.
Users can also sign up for neighborhood watch reports that email breakdowns of recent crime activity and can submit an anonymous tip.
The map syncs with Hemet police records, meaning that a crime shows up on the map or mobile app within about two hours of police responding to the call for service, Webb said. It also displays basic information such as the type of crime, what block it occurred on, the date and the time.