COVINGTON — The Newton County Sheriff’s Office has implemented new software that makes it possible for residents to see where crime is happening in the community and also for the department’s Crime Analysis Unit to study crime patterns with the goal of making arrests and eliminating certain types of crime.
NCSO Sheriff Ezell Brown implemented CrimeReports, the national crime mapping system, around the first of the year and First Lt. Mark Mitchell of the Criminal Investigation Division said it is already paying dividends.
“It’s worked out real well. We’ve been able to generate good intel and just in the past month, we have been able to arrest some actors and players in some recent burglaries,” Mitchell said. “It’s already paying off and we expect it to pay off further as we become better trained.”
Getting special training for the Crime Analysis Unit are Crime Analyst Kathy Esque and Investigator Ary S. Grijalva, both of whom will integrate the department’s reporting system with CrimeReports and pass along their expertise to other sheriff’s office employees so that needed data to solve crimes will be available at the touch of a mouse.
“With this, we’ll be able to pinpoint where different types of crime is happening. Then we can put directed patrols in a specific area,” Mitchell pointed out.
He said patterns of crime will be easily identifiable with the use of the new software coupled with the NCSO’s own crime reporting system.
“Let’s say we’re getting burglaries in a subdivision in the western part of the county. Obviously there’s going to be reports filed on the burglaries and then CrimeReports will make it possible for us to chart maps and be able to say, ‘OK, this is the time of day or this is the day of the week these burglaries are happening.’ Therefore, you’re able to narrow it down to a specific time, a specific date and area and know that’s where we want to put our patrol or CID and Crime Suppression Unit. What we’re looking for is at least a 50-50 chance of being there at the right place and at the right time.”
Also, through the public access portion of the software citizens can go to the Sheriff’s Office website (www.newtonsheriffga.org) and be able to pull up a map of the county or a neighborhood or go to crimereports.com and see where crime is occurring. Citizens can also look at incident reports on specific crimes with a brief synopsis of what happened from the public portion of the report. Hopefully, if a citizen sees something that spurs a memory of, say, seeing a black car in the area about the time there was a burglary reported, that person will call the NCSO and give them the tip.
Also in the works is the implementation of software known as Tipsoft, which will enable anonymous tips to be submitted to the NCSO, as well as making it possible to have phone aps and alerts of area crime as they occur.
Mitchell said area agencies such as the Covington and Conyers Police Departments and the Rockdale, Henry and Walton County Sheriff’s Offices already have the software and it has helped with networking with them when looking for criminals and solving crimes. They are also linked to state and federal agencies, as well.
“The Newton County Sheriff’s Office is demonstrating its leadership in law enforcement by finding new ways to connect with the public at a personal level,” said Greg Whisenant, founder and CEO of CrimeReports. “By partnering with us, they are recognizing the value of the public’s involvement and being proactive in both policing and investing in programs that make a difference.”