Friday, March 20, 2009

Dunwoody / DeKalb Crime Stats - How do you like the new CrimeTrac system?

What does the community want to see as far as crime statistics are concerned?

I personally like crime stats to be publicly available for a number of reasons but mostly for accountability, safety and to a certain extent deterrence. Dunwoody's crime stats have never been separate from that of DeKalb's and because of it, Dunwoody has received some bad press as being a crime ridden area when we the residents know that to be generally not true.

The downturn in the economy has generally raised the level of property crime, theft and robberies but random violent crime (like the senseless murder that happened at the Texaco station, just off 285) happens everywhere and without reason. A solid police department cannot stop these types of random crimes from happening in Dunwoody but the overall crime stats do give a solid indication where problems exist that may need to be addressed.

Today I received the hard copy bi-weekly crime stats from DeKalb County for the three territories in Dunwoody and decided to compare them against the new internet based Crimetrac system which takes the data directly out of the DeKalb County police databases. The comparison wasn't even close, with the Crimetrac system appearing to be much more complete and also much more accurate whereby the hard copy statistics conveniently forgot to tell us of the murder that happened at the Texaco Station on March 12th.

I am not sure that the Crimetrac system will be the best solution for the City of Dunwoody as I will leave that up to Police Chief Billy Grogan to decide, but I do like the mapping and report functions of the system.

I have received positive feedback from residents regarding the DeKalb Mugshots webpage which lists every mugshot photo taken at the DeKalb County Jail and the Community Watch System which e-mails you when there was a resident in your (or your adjacent) zip code was arrested the previous day. These two services are both part of DeKalb's County's Online Judicial System master database which shows both civil and criminal cases being handled in the county, as well as shows all inmate inmate information. If a person is arrested in Dunwoody and processed at the DeKalb County Jail, I take it that for granted that these services will continue, but is this the type of crime tracking system we want in Dunwoody? Why or why not and if you have recommendations for something else, I and I'm sure Chief Grogan would be glad to hear them.

When I was a teenager in Chicago, my local neighborhood newspaper listed every crime in the area including every drunk driving, shoplifting and speeding ticket that was issued. As voyeuristic and big brotherish as it sounds; it was one of the most read columns in the paper and in the Heneghan Family, God help you if your name was ever listed in there as it would have embarrassed my Mother and tarnished the good family name.

The Dunwoody Police Department will be rolling out onto the streets at Midnight of April 1st and internet crime statistics may not be the highest priority for the Department at this point but it is something that will be addressed in the near future, so please give us your feedback.

On a related subject, the Dunwoody Court system has now been in session, I believe three times on alternating Wednesday Mornings and Wednesday Evenings with the next session taking place on Wed morning. I have heard that the sessions have been run smoothly and efficiently by our experienced judges with many citations, currently being written by the DeKalb Police Department, being paid over the internet via the city webpage.

Someday soon I will have to catch a session of court but let's just hope for my sake it will not be a demand performance, otherwise my Mother would be very disappointed in me.


Worth Wells said...

Hey John! Thanks for the continued good works for the residents of Dunwoody! You and I emailed about the crime mapping, but thought since you were seeking public comment I would share here as well. I have gotten accustomed to my daily emails from the jail as well as being able to view the crime map. I think if this stops on 4/1, it will be a real disservice to the residents. I know the Chief has had his plate full of priorities, but I think this should have been towards the top of the list. I have seen your comments about the automated systems the department will be using, however I am unsure of the requirements for this service to "poll" the data. We need to know what is happening in Dunwoody, this should be a TOP priority.

Worth Wells

John Heneghan said...

Thanks Worth, as I said I do not believe those "services" will stop on April 1st and I will talk to the Chief on Monday regarding this topic to see where we are.