In typical government fashion, the data is difficult to extract. There’s no easy way to browse data that I can see. There’s identification of what’s important, or trends in crime. There’s no explanation about what records are not available through this new portal.
As usual, you still need an interpreter i.e. a reporter or an expert who can help a regular person navigate the site and understand the reports.
But before I get too negative, I’ll say I appreciate the effort. Past efforts have failed. The Asheville Police Blotter is no longer updated on a regular basis, and the Asheville Crime Mapper, another touted local effort at pushing out crime information, isn’t either.
Anyway, here’s the press release:
A new application on the Asheville Police Department’s webpage allows the public direct access to many police reports. Police to Citizen (P2C) allows members of the public to view police records, search for specific incidents, and access crash reports on demand. “The addition of this function is another step forward in the easy flow of information between the police department and the public,” said Asheville Police Chief William Anderson. “Many public police records will now be accessible with the click of a button.”
The P2C application is one of many tools available through the police department’s website at http://www.ashevillenc.gov/Departments/Police.aspx. Additional tools include Text-a-Tip which allows crime tips to be submitted anonymously and Crime Reports © which displays crime data geographically.
“This project with the police department is a great example of recognizing a community need and addressing it through open data,” said City of Asheville Chief Information Officer Jonathan Feldman. “The application is also used by the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department and demonstrates how our consolidated public safety data partnership with Buncombe County continues to produce good results for citizens and staff alike.”