Editorial: Crime maps will be useful for residents
Under ideal circumstances, the maps available now to Farmington residents and soon to Rosemount residents through a new system called RaidsOnline would be the most boring maps you could read outside of North Dakota. The system, being put into use by several police departments in Dakota County, allows residents access to information about police activity, tailored to their location.
Circumstances are rarely ideal, however, and in the real world the RaidsOnline system will probably fall somewhere between useful tool and entertaining curiosity for most residents.
Farmington and Rosemount are hardly criminal hotbeds, but there is no question bad behavior goes on here. If you read this newspaper regularly, you already know that.
And even with minor criminal activity there is value to being informed. Noticing a rash of car break-ins on your street can serve as a useful reminder to lock your own doors at night.
Nobody’s likely to see anything that would encourage them to move out of their home, but they might see an incident report that reminds them of something suspicious they saw on the night the crime occurred.
The system also gives residents another avenue to report criminal activity. There’s no such thing as too many ways for residents to reach out to police.
There are uses for the system that go beyond helping residents keep tabs on what’s happening at their neighbor’s house. Because many departments in the area have started using the system, it becomes easier than ever for police to see if, for example, a rash of vandalism in Farmington extends into Rosemount or Lakeville. Departments can collaborate without having to communicate directly.
We’re in the information business, and as far as we’re concerned, more information is a good thing.