A new online site launched today that allows Palo Alto residents to track crime in their neighborhoods.
The free system, http://www.CrimeReports.com , will send alerts via e-mail when a crime has occurred within the past 24 hours, according to the company, Public Engine.
Users of the site can also view a map identifying the locations of crimes, presented through a Google Maps interface.
Crime information is uploaded at 6 a.m. daily, according to Palo Alto police Sgt. Sandra Brown.
The Palo Alto Police Department will pay $100 to $200 per month for the service, Brown said.
The system will cut down on calls the police receive asking for crime information, she said. It will also be useful for people moving to the area and looking for crime statistics. And it will help the department's crime analyst retrieve information about crime trends more quickly and easily, Brown said.
Other Bay Area police departments -- San Jose, Los Gatos, Gilroy and Fremont -- are also participating. Palo Alto decided to sign up after seeing results from a preliminary launch with the San Jose Police Department in September 2007, Brown said.
The site lists residential and commercial burglaries, thefts, auto burglaries and thefts from autos, rapes, homicides, assaults and robberies and other crimes.
Users enter their address, or any other address within the city, click on their state on a map, select the police department or agency from a pull-down menu and click to retrieve the map. Information can be obtained for three, seven, 14 and 30 days and can be sorted by crime.
Clicking on an icon provides information about the time, block and type of crime. Locations where multiple crimes have occurred also are shown.
To view the crime maps, go to CrimeReports.com.