Neighborhood Crime Watch Goes Digital

By Tom Llamas
|  Friday, May 6, 2011  |  Updated 1:03 PM EDT
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Neighborhood Crime Watch Goes Digital

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Before you rent that next apartment, buy the house of your dreams or debate walking somewhere late at night, you may want to check out a new website called spotcrime.com.

Spotcrime.com collects crime information and maps it. Type in your address and the software shows you what has happened in your neighborhood, or your block.

Every crime is represented by an icon, everything from arson to robbery. Click on the icon and you’ll get an exact location, the source of the crime report and a Google image of the area.

“I could easily see this being used when you’re apartment searching and things like that,” says Jeff Raphael who lives in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn and plugged his address into the spotcrime.com smartphone app.

The site also sends out emails and texts to people who register their addresses for crime alerts.

“We’re reaching about 70 percent of the U.S. population,” says Colin Drane, who started the site.
 
But they’re not getting all the crimes that happen -- at least not in places like New York City and Long Island.  A majority of the crime information they get for our area comes from the press or scanner reports.  

“I don’t know if we’re 100 percent accurate, but we are as accurate as we can be in terms of where we’re getting the data from,” says Drane.

The NYPD and Nassau County police department say residents can check with their precincts if they want the exact locations and times of crimes.

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