YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There is an app many are unaware of that will let you know where police are being dispatched.
I.C.U. (I See You) Block Watch President Victoria Allen has the app on her phone. She said it’s a great tool to keep residents informed about what is going on in their neighborhood.
“It makes you aware of what is going on because if you don’t see it in your face, you don’t know what happened next door, around the corner or around the street if no one talks about it,” Allen said.
Youngstown Police have offered free access to the website RAIDSonline.com since 2012. Users can get an overview of where officers are being sent throughout the city.
“Whether it is robberies, property crimes, stolen cars, whatever, you can see within a certain mile radius what is going on based on your calls for service,” said Capt. Jason Simon, Youngstown Police Department.
The website can access departments all over the country as long as that agency subscribes to it. There are dozens of departments now offering it in Ohio, with close to thirty of them here in the Mahoning Valley.
Simon said YPD has a sophisticated program for logging and categorizing calls within the city and the RAIDS online system uses information generated by the department’s computer aided dispatching (CAD). He warns those using it need to understand the difference the way calls are dispatched.
“Many times a shooting may turn out to be a firecracker, and if the classification is not changed in the CAD system, then it is not going to change on the RAIDS program,” Simon said.
Allen encourages neighbors to download the app to serve as a reminder to be vigilant, especially when crime hits close to home.
“Make sure you lock your car door. Make sure there is nothing visible,” Allen said.