We all want to understand what’s happening in and around our neighborhood and ensure that we’re living in a safe area. Communication with our neighbors gives us some information, but considerably more data is available through the web. Occasionally, we’ll see something posted on our neighborhood’s nextdoor.com website, but to get real-time detailed information, our Municipal and State websites contain vast amounts of timely public information regarding our neighborhoods. This article is oriented toward monitoring criminal activity, but will also give some information on other aspects of our neighborhood. Lets get started with an overview of the primary information sources, beginning with some website feeds from the Anchorage Police Department. This article contains various links, as well as information regarding how to navigate these sites.
In 2014, APD switched their crime information feed website to Raidsonline.com. Raidsonline.com is the public side of a rather large crime data sharing system used by various law enforcement agencies. APD officers also have access to the private side of the system to access additional non-public information.
Once you’ve clicked on Raidsonline.com, in the menu bar on the left hand side of the map you can either enter an address or scroll down in the “Jump To City” link and click on AK-Anchorage. Now that you’re at the selected location, you’ll see crime symbols on the map from events occurring in the past couple of weeks. In addition, via the menu bar to the left, you can expand or define the search by type of crime, offender, search radius, date range, etc, etc. All you have to do is click on the crime symbol to get the case number, type of crime, date/time and location. All addresses are rounded off to the hundred range of that block. No exact addresses are given. Please note: If you wish to submit an anonymous tip regarding a specific crime, simply click on the link at the bottom of the data window that pops up when you click on the crime symbol. You can click on the satellite link on the upper right of the map display to go to a satellite photo rather than map. Keep in mind that crime locations are not shown at the exact address on the satellite photo either. The symbols are located within a block of the actual location. I know this because I personally spoke with the APD crime analyst responsible for this website transition. You can also get a list of the crimes on the map by clicking on “Data Grid” in the bar at the top of the map.
Since criminal charges do not necessarily mean convictions, additional public information is somewhat limited. Per the APD website at http://www.muni.org/departments/police/pages/default.aspx, copies of individual crime reports may be requested by citizens. However, requests may be denied or redacted (information removed or blacked out) due to victims rights, public records exclusions, and/or active arrest, prosecution or investigation. Report costs are typically $6.00 per report. Requests may be made by phone, e-mail or in person. By the way, the above link to the APD website has lots more additional information and links…..too much to go over here.
You may have noticed on the Raidsonline.com website that they offer a “Signup” for crime alerts in your area via e-mail as well as a mobile app for iPhones. The Anchorage Police Department however has a public information program that gives up-to-date information alerts and advisories about criminal events of significance in and around your neighborhood via Nixle. You can elect to receive these alert/advisories by text/e-mail and/or web message, or you can go to https://local.nixle.com/anchorage-police-department to read the latest alerts and advisories. View the APD Poster below for signup information. If you elect the text alert option you can dictate the timeframe within which you’ll receive texts so you’re not woken up in the middle of the night! If you select the e-mail/voice alert option via www.nixle.com you’ll have more alert options via the Nixle full alert services. All of this is at no cost to you. I signed up a couple of years ago and have since received text alerts about crimes of significance, road shutdowns due to police investigations, fire responses, etc. The majority of the texts contained a link to the Nixle website site which instantaneously gives me additional information about the events. Enjoy!
Now…..on to the last website in this article. The Municipality of Anchorage website at http://www.muni.org/Pages/default.aspx is actually rather impressive and can give you vast amounts of information on various topics. For the purposes of this article, click on the “My Neighborhood” link in the light orange bar in the upper right hand corner http://neighborhood.muni.org/ Once there, enter your address and choose the category you’d like to search. The neighborhood search categories are: Education, Health & Family, Local Services, Political, Property Info, Recreation and Public Safety. The “Public Safety” link however just brings you to a blank map with some links below to Raidsonline.com and municipal websites.
Finally, if you ever want to find the outcome of an event, you can go to the Alaska State Court System website to look up information and outcomes of individual civil and criminal cases. That’s just a matter of clicking on http://www.courts.alaska.gov/.