Police encourage interactive maps to track crime in neighborhoods

"I wish more people would look at that and see how beneficial it is,” Captain Robert Wood said.

When a local crime happens certain places may come to mind first, but interactive maps are showing misconduct is much more widespread throughout the Omaha area.

"I've had stuff stolen out of my yard," said Rick Madej, who has dealt with crime before.

He moved out west, and it still happens in his neighborhood from time to time.

"We do have occasional vandalism and thefts of motor vehicles.” Madej said.

If you think flashing police lights only light up parts of north Omaha, think again.

An interactive crime map tells a different story.

There are markers in Sarpy County for anything ranging from assault to property crime to breaking and entering.

"As far as the accuracy of the information, I think that's something that's always been expected,” said Eric Herbert, the coordinator for what’s called the GIS system.

It’s his job to make sure the data is orderly and efficient.

Captain Robert Wood of the Bellevue Police Department said, "It is helpful."

The department encourages people living in Bellevue to check it out.

"I wish more people would look at that and see how beneficial it is,” Wood said. “Everyone has questions about what's going on in the neighborhood."

Even in the presumably safe neighborhoods of west Omaha, you’ll find neighborhood watch signs. This means people are watching in every corner of the metro.”

Back at Madej’s side of town such interactive crime mapping is a big help.

It supports the citizen patrols already in place.

Because drivers can’t be everywhere at all time, the online site serves as a 24/7 solution in the digital age.

Madej said, "We have good response from the neighbors."

And the improvements will keep coming. The idea is to keep crime out of your neighborhood.

It's not just crime maps local police are now using.

In Omaha, police are now active on the online site called Nextdoor.

It's a social networking service designed to keep neighborhoods safer.

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