Police post reports online

Ashland crime statistics are now just a few clicks away.

The Ashland Police Department started posting all of its cases on earlier this month. The Web site maps the location of crimes within the city. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office recently announced their participation in the program, and Ashland is the second Oregon agency to sign up.

The site should increase transparency and help officers better analyze crime in the city and their patrol areas, said Police Chief Terry Holderness.

Everything except domestic violence, sexual abuse or child abuse is pinned to a city block, so citizens can monitor crime in their neighborhoods or around their children's school and favorite hang-outs. Abuse and domestic violence that occurs at the victims' homes are not listed with an address in order to protect victims' identities, Holderness said.

Citizens can also sign up for e-mail alerts when crimes happen in a designated area or generate graphs to describe crime in their neighborhood.

"It's not meant to alarm people," Holderness said. "This is still one of the safest communities in the country."

But it should make people more aware of what problems do exist in their neighborhood.

So far, only police activity that results in a case is uploaded on the site, which accounts for about 10 percent of what the department does, he said. Ashland police plan to eventually include all activity, such as routine traffic stops and vehicle towings.

"Our goal really is to put all of our activity out here," he said. "It will give people a real idea of how responsive we're being."

For example, if a resident complains that cars always speed through their neighborhood, that person will be able to monitor the site and see if officers have issued tickets to offending drivers, he said.

Businesses could also benefit from the site, he said, as much of Ashland's crime centers around the downtown area and other main thoroughfares where businesses are located.

"This is kind of cool," said Jeven Showers, the owner of Tabu. He said he already checks the Jackson County Jail Web site to monitor crime such as assaults and DUIIs over the weekend in Ashland.

"It really looks like there is a lot of theft here in town, and I'm really surprised to see that somebody was raped," he said when he checked the site on Monday.

Showers said he liked to get an accurate picture of where and what kinds of crimes were occurring.

"It's nice to see that because it's kind of a wake up call," he said.

Bob Dreiszus, owner of the Beau Club downtown, was not quite as keen on the concept.

"I don't think it's a bad idea," he said. "I don't do it."

For those who are interested, the site is updated automatically every 24 hours and costs $99 per month to maintain. Ashland was the 100th department in the country to sign up for the service, Holderness said, and he expects many more will get on board soon.

"I think this is the wave of the future," he said. "Five years from now, this will be the standard."

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or .

Share This Story