OCOEE, Fla. – Ocoee Deputy Police Chief Steve McCosker said the question he gets most often from citizens is: Is my neighborhood safe?
Now Ocoee police can answer that question instantly and accurately by sending citizens to a website: www.crimemapping.com/map/fl/ocoee.
The map shows all reported crime -- including robbery, assault, shootings, burglaries -- down to the block where officers responded.
"It also allows us to answer questions where people get to see the real numbers and lets us be transparent about what's going on in the community," McCosker said.
The data is pulled from the Ocoee PD's CAD -- the computer-aided dispatch system.
Citizens can set filters to see only certain types of crimes and can even set alerts for crimes reported in their area.
Ocoee PD crime analyst Ross Brummett said the crime mapping website also offers charts that can sort the crime data.
"For example, the chart can help you see what time it's happening, the day of the week," Brummett said. "Saturday is the busier day for crime."
McCosker said the crime map empowers citizens because they are smarter and safer armed with information.
They'll know to look out for suspicious people or activity if a crime, such as a car break-in, has occurred close by.
"Basically when someone in the community is partnering with us and being an extra set of eyes and ears, they know exactly what's out of place in the community whereas a police officer can drive right by a car that's normally out of place and not know it because we're not out in that community 24/7," McCosker said. "This product is definitely helping us get results and partner with the community."
On Wednesday afternoon, the crime map showed a rash of vehicle burglaries on Doreen and Maureen avenues -- six in the past week.
Nayrim Vega lives nearby and walks the neighborhood every day for exercise with her young daughter.
"We know there has been stuff going on and I can do something to prevent it from happening to me and my family," Vega said.
Vega said the crime map arms her with information.
"I feel like it gives us a lot more advantage to know who is around, who would potentially be breaking into our houses, or breaking into our cars," Vega said. "That would actually make me feel much better."
All of the cars burglarized were left unlocked, McCosker said.
The police department posts a warning to residents every night around 9 p.m. on Facebook reminding them to lock their cars before they go to bed.