The Cleveland Police Department is one of less than 20 municipal and county law enforcement agencies in Tennessee to display criminal activity on a map maintained by a Utah-based company. CPD Chief Wes Snyder told Cleveland City Council members earlier this week, “We’ll also be using that website to implement strategies where we can see exactly which communities, which areas or sections of town have problems.”
Capt. Dennis Maddux said the department lost real-time information as the department shifted from paper to electronic records in the last decade. These days, incident reports are electronically filed.
“The chief would come in on Monday and ask what happened over the weekend and I’d look back at him with a blank look on my face because I wasn’t there either and didn’t know,” Maddux said. “Ten years ago we didn’t have that problem because we filed paper reports that would come in at the end of every shift. We could pick those reports up and read them at roll call. Now we are basically paperless.”
There are two components available to the public. “CrimeReports” is a comprehensive Internet-based system that maps crime in any city utilizing the service provided by PublicEngines, a company based in Draper, Utah. Cleveland began publishing the information Sunday.
The second component is TipSoft. It offers the public a way to anonymously submit information to the department by routing tips through Canada where the information is protected by Canadian Supreme Court law.
“That information is 100 percent anonymous. That information is transferred through a server in Canada,” Maddux said. “I would like to meet the first person who can get a search warrant for Canada.”
The map displays criminal activity only in the city and only after a city officer has filed a report.
“Every citizen has the ability to go to that website and see real time crime as it is reported to the police department,” Maddux said. “They don’t have detailed information like we would have, but they can see what is going on around them.”
Always call 911 in case of an emergency. However, nonemergency tips may be submitted by text messaging, a free cellphone application or via the website.
According to information from CrimeReports, tips may be texted to “CLEVELAND.” A test message was sent by the Banner asking for a reply for verification, but no reply was given. Free cellphone applications are available in the Apple Store and Droid Marketplace.
In order to submit an anonymous tip via cellphone, download the “TipSubmit” application and follow the instructions for submitting text, video and photographs. The application requires a password. The application includes chat capabilities with an investigating officer. Tips may be submitted over the Internet through tipsoft.com and follow the menu prompts or (https://www.tipsubmit.com/WebTips.aspx?AgencyID=1086), an address created specifically for the Cleveland Police Department.
A third component of the service is an internal analytical tool available only to the police department.
“As far as the department goes, we’re going to use this system to build our crime analysis trends,” Maddux said. Bradley County is not using the service, but Chattanooga and Hamilton County are subscribers. The map also show where sex offenders live. That information is added by the state of Tennessee. It is not added by the city of Cleveland.