New Web Site Allows Students To Report Crimes, Access Data

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A newly launched Web site will allow students to play a greater role in learning about and reporting crimes around college campuses.

Launched earlier this month, currently covers more than 100 campuses with readily accessible crime data and a large student population, according to founder Colin Drane.

UC Berkeley was among the first campuses with crime data posted on the site, Drane said. Users can select a specific area on Google Maps to view assaults, thefts and other acts of vandalism that have occurred in the area. After logging on, they can also post information about acts of crime in the vicinity.

"We intend to have a self-regulating system, very similar to a Craigslist-type system," Drane said. "We are going to allow people to participate There are spots (where) 50 percent of the crimes do not get reported, so we are hoping to move that percentage in a positive direction by allowing people to report to our system."

The company now plans to serve 200 campuses by the end of this week, Drane said.

The Berkeley Police Department and UCPD have not worked with the company, but department officials said any program that informs students would be beneficial.

"The student community poses challenges for BPD in terms of crime prevention. Each semester, there is an increase in crime as a result of the influx of students," said Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss in an e-mail. "Any source or means to educate students and community members as whole is a plus, if utilized."

Many students said that they are unaware of the program. UC Berkeley junior Aletheia Miyake had not heard of UCrime, but said it was important for students to learn ways to stay safe.

"On one hand, it's important to know where crime happens, but I think it's more about having street savvy," she said. "We should teach (people) to have awareness, common sense, to always be on alert."

To increase visibility of the program among students, UCrime will be launching an iPhone page and a Facebook application in a few weeks.

Drane noted that the program supplements the Clery Act and distributes data differently from systems such as WarnMe, the campus notification program which alerts students and faculty of emergencies through phone and e-mail messages.

"We're not an early warning system. We're a secondary system One of the reasons the Clery Act exists (is to) let people know (where) crime exists," Drane said.


Contact Christine Chen at [email protected]

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