Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Citizen Policing: Ogden PD's Cyberwatch Program

Ogden Police Department's Real-Time Crime Center

A couple weeks ago, the Ogden Police Department contacted me to let me know about a new program they were moving forward.  Today I had an opportunity to speak at an OPD press conference detailing the specifics.  Dubbed the Cyberwatch Program, it is a means of conveying information to community minded individuals who want to be involved in reducing crime in their neighborhoods.

One of the challenges of policing is trying to provide enough resources in enough places to be effective.  Obviously, too much police presence can rub public sentiments the wrong way by conveying a sense of heavy handedness.  So, there has to be a balance between presence and patrols in the community and the community policing itself.

The Cyberwatch Program tries to strike that balance.  As a beta tester for the program, I have been receiving daily emails that show what kind of criminal activity has been occurring in my neighborhood over a two week period.  Here is a copy of the email I received today:

As you can see, within a 1 blog radius of my home, there is a bit of mischief going on.  My neighborhood is relatively quiet.  However, while I am sleeping, it appears some of the neighbors are making trouble for themselves and others.  This isn't really a surprise.  But it is sobering to read a report which puts all this activity in context.  Fortunately, our neighborhood has improved tremendously from years ago when it was a war zone.

With this information available to those who opt-in to the program, they can have timely information about trouble in their area.  This should offer neighbors an opportunity to communicate with landlords and other stakeholders in the community to work toward solving the problems.  These reports should help us as a neighborhood unite to observe and repel the disturbing forces in our community.  Ultimately, this should help promote behavior modification in those individuals who are inclined to attract the police to themselves.  I look forward to the collaboration this will foster.

The program has been very effective and successful in Memphis, TN and I thank John Harvey for bringing it forward for an inaugural run here in Ogden.  If you are interested in participating in the Cyberwatch program in Ogden City, you can sign up here to begin receiving reports for your neighborhood.  Let's all make Ogden an even better place to live, work, and play!

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