RUMFORD — The Rumford Police Department continues to increase its presence in web-based, interactive social media.

Thanks to the efforts of Sgt. Doug Maifeld, the department has long had a website and Facebook page.

Now it has a new tool that residents can use for free in order to track crime in town and possibly help police solve crimes. Additionally, the software cost the Police Department nothing, police Chief Stacy Carter said Friday morning.

Rumford police recently partnered with the software provider, Behavioral Analysis & Intelligence Resources Analytics Inc.

Known as RAIDS Online (www.raidsonline.com), BAIR’s analytical software is an interactive map that pinpoints the location of criminal complaints throughout Rumford.

So, like Auburn and Lewiston police departments, Rumford police can now offer online mapping of certain crimes to alert the public about recent activity. 

The online crime map plots and analyzes crime data and alerts citizens about crimes in their area. It also improves communication between the public and law enforcement through anonymous tips, Carter said.

“For us, it’s an awareness thing,” he said. “And, hopefully, it generates some tips for us.”

Citizens can view a map and grid with certain crimes in their area after clicking on the state of Maine on a U.S. map and choosing Rumford from the drop-down list of participating police departments.

The map, which uploads information from police records, shows a place marker at the site of each incident, which is color coded to identify the nature of the crime.

Carter said Rumford residents can submit an anonymous tip about a crime directly to their law enforcement agency by sending the tip to Rumfordpd.com.

RAIDS Online is automatically synchronized with the Rumford Police Department’s records system to keep crime information updated online and in the mobile app.

RAIDS Online cleans and geocodes the crime data, then displays all of the incidents on a map, a grid and an analytics dashboard, along with some basic information about the incidents, including the type of crime, location type, block-level address, and the date and time the crime occurred.

Chief Carter said he was made aware of the software “quite some time ago” by the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, but hadn’t yet activated the partnership until now. That’s why there are only a few crimes tagged on the map, which shows Rumford and Mexico streets.

“This is a good thing for the public, because they can see where crimes are occurring, but more importantly, if they were aware of them, they can see that (crime tagged on the map) and can provide information to us through our tip line,” he said.

Carter said his department is trying it out to see how it works. Additionally, the public can get the app for the service on mobile devices.

“Whether they know about it or not, crime is still occurring, and this map allows people to make informed decisions about it,” he said.

Auburn police began using the web-based crime map in May 2011. Additional Maine police departments participating in the online crime map are Augusta, Bath, Brunswick, Lisbon, Richmond, Saco, South Portland and Topsham.

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