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Fighting crime with a GPSr


planewood
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Watching the nightly news I got to wondering about something.

 

Here in Houston, most, if not all, police cars have a computer on board. If they can afford a computer, then surely they could afford a cheap GPSr if they don't already have one.

 

Seems like it'd be pretty easy to record the GPS coordinates of the location of a crime.

 

If some major GPS manufacturer would work with Google Earth to facilitate a crimes data base mapping capability then at least citizens could find out where crimes are being committed or the locations of police callouts. They could even show different icons for different types of crimes or disturbances.

 

I for one know very little about crimes that have happened nearby.

 

Would letting citizens know the locations of crimes or disturbances cause a problem?

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Already being done. I use to command our Research & Development/Mapping Bureau. In 1998 mapped about any kind of crime/traffic issue you could imagine or could come up with.

In addition, all our squad cars statewide have GPS feeding into their in-car computers and the mapping program. All crashes we handle are no longer identified by location of "1st and Main" but by grid coords. This is much more accurate for plotting stats as instead of being "1/4 mile east of MP 123.4" they are all to the grid coord.

The GPS coords also work for us doing manhunts and identifying other locations out in the boonies. No longer does a Troop have to give his location "at the bottom of the hill on Rogers' farm past the big oak tree".

With our in-car computers we can use the mapping software with tracks and email that map picture to any other car or HQ to not only give exact location but also how to get to a certain location.

LE and the govt were using GPS and plotting long before anyone even thought of Geocaching.

Edited by Wadcutter
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I was thinking something kind of just the opposite recently. Here in Dallas and surrounding suburbs, they recently installed red light cameras at various intersections. It would be nice for Garmin and other GPS manufactures have a warning sound that would work in conjunction with a waypoint symbol. That way you could input the various redlight cameras, known speedtraps, and other hazzards like quicksand to remind you as you approach with caution. I know I could just slow down, quit running red lights, and falling into quicksand, but what fun would that be. :-)

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I was thinking something kind of just the opposite recently. Here in Dallas and surrounding suburbs, they recently installed red light cameras at various intersections. It would be nice for Garmin and other GPS manufactures have a warning sound that would work in conjunction with a waypoint symbol. That way you could input the various redlight cameras, known speedtraps, and other hazzards like quicksand to remind you as you approach with caution. I know I could just slow down, quit running red lights, and falling into quicksand, but what fun would that be. :-)

It's already there, called proximity waypoints on the Garmins I have. You can set the alarms of what ever distance you want. The area is also shown on the map page, I use it alot when placing caches - just set the nearby caches with a .1 mile range and it's easy to see when you're clear.

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Already being done. I use to command our Research & Development/Mapping Bureau. In 1998 mapped about any kind of crime/traffic issue you could imagine or could come up with.

In addition, all our squad cars statewide have GPS feeding into their in-car computers and the mapping program. All crashes we handle are no longer identified by location of "1st and Main" but by grid coords. This is much more accurate for plotting stats as instead of being "1/4 mile east of MP 123.4" they are all to the grid coord.

The GPS coords also work for us doing manhunts and identifying other locations out in the boonies. No longer does a Troop have to give his location "at the bottom of the hill on Rogers' farm past the big oak tree".

With our in-car computers we can use the mapping software with tracks and email that map picture to any other car or HQ to not only give exact location but also how to get to a certain location.

LE and the govt were using GPS and plotting long before anyone even thought of Geocaching.

 

Ok, Great! The data is already collected. But, why couldn't they adopt some kind of a national standard data base that Google Earth can link to for mapping. Like: Lon, Lat, Reason for call, Date. Adopt some standards for 'Reason for call'. Or, would this just tell the criminals where the easy marks are? Police and fire departments are civil employees. Surly the public has a right to know.

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I was thinking something kind of just the opposite recently. Here in Dallas and surrounding suburbs, they recently installed red light cameras at various intersections. It would be nice for Garmin and other GPS manufactures have a warning sound that would work in conjunction with a waypoint symbol. That way you could input the various redlight cameras, known speedtraps, and other hazzards like quicksand to remind you as you approach with caution. I know I could just slow down, quit running red lights, and falling into quicksand, but what fun would that be. :-)

 

Here you go... off of Garmin's website:

 

Company Name: GPS POI US

Geographic Coverage: USA

Language: English

Website: http://www.gps-poi-us.com

Contact: info@gps-poi-us.com

Content Type: US Red-Light Cameras, Sports Venues, Disneyworld, Multiple stores & restaurants, Travel

Pay Site: Paid, some free

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I was thinking something kind of just the opposite recently. Here in Dallas and surrounding suburbs, they recently installed red light cameras at various intersections. It would be nice for Garmin and other GPS manufactures have a warning sound that would work in conjunction with a waypoint symbol. That way you could input the various redlight cameras, known speedtraps, and other hazzards like quicksand to remind you as you approach with caution. I know I could just slow down, quit running red lights, and falling into quicksand, but what fun would that be. :-)

 

Uh-Oh. I can see it now. Some liberal in the legislature will use that as an excuse to ban the use of GPSr's in cars like they've outlawed radar detectors in many states.

 

What we need is a real time database of speed trap locations. Not that any of us would ever speed (wink, wink). I could add that to my cell phone GPS app. Just press the "Mark Speed trap" key and the phone would snap the coordinates from the GPSr, post them on the web site in GPX form and anyone could download them (even while mobile via your cell phone)......Whoops....getting carried away here on flights of fancy ;-)

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Ok, Great! The data is already collected. But, why couldn't they adopt some kind of a national standard data base that Google Earth can link to for mapping. Like: Lon, Lat, Reason for call, Date. Adopt some standards for 'Reason for call'. Or, would this just tell the criminals where the easy marks are? Police and fire departments are civil employees. Surly the public has a right to know.

You'll find that nothing is standardized in government, not even word processing.

What you are suggesting is already done by my agency for internal use. We use to have such a thing on our web page but found that it was not worth the effort to maintain it since it wasn't being used by the public. No one used it. The public could select certain crimes and traffic problems, click the part of the state, or the entire state, they were interested in mapping and they'd get the results. No one used it. There was no interest by the public of finding out specific locations. They were wanting more general locations such as towns or county crimes locations. The general info is out there all over the criminal justice websites.

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