West Fargo Police launches dashboard for residents to track crime in city

Local News 6 days ago IN FORUM 12

WEST FARGO — Residents will soon have a new way to track crime and other activity in their neighborhood when the West Fargo Police launches a new "dashboard."

The dashboard will be placed on the West Fargo Police Department's website and updated live with such items as the number of service calls to police, arrests, crime mapping and traffic crashes.

Police Chief Denis Otterness said the project began roughly a year ago in partnership with the city's GIS department as a way to increase transparency with the police department and community.

"Mutual respect and trust is the only way we can operate in the community," Otterness said Monday, Nov. 21.

The dashboard currently lists crime statistics, calls for service, year-to-date counts, neighborhood crime maps and crime heat maps. Statistics provided are closed investigations. The information will update regularly and is subject to change.

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No open investigations are listed on the transparency dashboard, which means the data may not always align with data in the department's annual report. While the website includes crime mapping, it does not list lower level crimes such as ordinance infractions and it will not list individual addresses. Instead, it will map the general block area such as 800 4th Ave. South.

"That was intentional, for privacy reasons. We don't want to necessarily identify residents," Otterness said.

GIS Specialist Lauren Cammack said residents will be able to type in their own address and find the activity in their own neighborhood.

The website will be updated with real time data and is updated electronically.

"So there is nobody that has to sit behind the scenes and tally everyday," Otterness said.

The dashboard project will not need additional funding. The department will continue to update and adapt the information the dashboard provides throughout the year.

The dashboard is expected to continue to evolve to include additional statistics as information becomes available. It is expected to be live by next week.

Readers can reach West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at wreuer@forumcomm.com or 701-241-5530 . Follow her on Twitter @ForumWendy .


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