ST. CHARLES, Mo. – St. Charles is posting crime data and police activity that people can access immediately. The information can be used to check out a neighborhood where someone may buy a home or improve safety on one’s block.
“It’s important with kids,” Emily Wissman said.
Her husband is also a police officer.
“Neighbors are very important to have relationships with and I’d like to know the crime that exists or doesn’t exist,” Wissman said.
The St. Charles Police Department allows addresses or neighborhoods to be checked in order to see what’s happening. People also can search for crimes or traffic accidents.
Another page lets people see recent police activity and 911 calls.
“What we wanted to do when I took over as chief is we really wanted to push being transparent in the community,” Police Chief Ray Juengst said.
Juengst said the public can see almost what dispatch sees with only a slight delay for safety reasons. As soon as an officer closes a call, the public will see that call pop up online.
“It gives them an opportunity to really see their police department and understand what we’re doing. They see what we’re responding to they see what we’re handling,” Juengst said.
Citizens can interact by sending an anonymous tip or requesting an extra patrol. They can help identify suspects captured on camera and they can also register their own camera so police can more quickly gather evidence the next time something happens.
Juengst says the credit goes to a civilian employee of the police department.
“This is essentially his baby. He brought something forward that we really thought was worth the effort of putting it into it,” Juengst said.
He’s talking about crime analyst Devlin Hutchins who looked at the new system as a way to not only help citizens, but also his own department.
Hutchins described it as, “…a potential time-saver if we put everything out online for citizens to get themselves and also the benefit of citizens having it readily available to pull at 11 o’clock at night because not everybody works our record’s office hours.”