Ogden program alerts residents to crimes in their area
In the first week of June, the crimes reported in a mile radius of Madison Avenue and 20th Street included two home burglaries, four assaults, a spice sale and a curfew violation by a juvenile.
To help solve crimes such as these and keep neighborhoods safer, the Ogden Police Department is enlisting the help of the public through CyberWatch.
The program sends daily emails to registered users that alerts them to crimes committed near their homes or businesses. Recipients also can learn about sex offenders who live in their neighborhood and fugitives whose last known addresses were in the area. The system also allows users to submit anonymous tips and report suspicious activity.
The goal is to get information on crime and make residents more vigilant, said John Harvey, deputy director of support services for the Ogden Police Department. CyberWatch is an improvement over the old model of holding a monthly neighborhood watch meeting or requiring residents to go to a website to check for crime in their area, he said.
"With CyberWatch, you get daily feedback," Harvey said.
About 160 people in Ogden have signed up so far for the free crime-fighting tool, which was launched in March, he said. Most are keeping tabs on the neighborhoods around their homes, their businesses or the residences of their parents and adult children, according to Harvey.
And after just a few months, there's already been an uptick in tips, especially concerning drug crimes, he said.
Harvey created CyberWatch in 2008 while working as a technical consultant for the Memphis Police Department. Now in Memphis, more than 30,000 people have registered to receive the emails. He hopes to have the same success in Ogden.
"Almost everyone said it empowered them," Harvey said of the Memphis program. "It became a virtual neighborhood watch."
New crime-fighting tool
O The Ogden Police Department is providing information about crimes, broken down by area, through CyberWatch, which sends daily emails to registered users. Visit http://bit.ly/1oYEtob to sign up for this free service.