Blue Springs police say new Crime Map tool is making a difference

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- Keeping your family and home safe has never been easier, at least in one metro city.

It's been a year since the Blue Springs Police Department changed the way it fights crime. The slight change is having some major results.

“I have kids, they are a little older now, just for watching out for them and just to know what's around,” said Lori Turner, who uses the Blue Springs Police Department Crime Map.

For people who live in and around Blue Springs, like Lori Turner, piece of mind is at her fingertips.

A little over a year ago, the Blue Springs Police Department launched the new tool: a website that lets everyone in the city know about crime that's happening in their neighborhoods.

“I'm a visual person, so I like to visualize, see what it is, and I like how you can just click on something, and see what it is, when it was, and just know what's going on,” Turner added. “Around our area we've heard of places getting robbed, so it was good to actually see what was getting hit, so we can watch out for ourselves.”

The department launched the site in hopes of catching criminals faster and the department said it's working.

Officers said people are letting their neighbors know what's happening and it has everyone on the lookout.

“I think it makes people feel safer, and be aware of what's going on, so you can be proactive and know what steps you need to do to take care of yourself and your family,” Turner said.

It's also helping the department know where they need to step up patrols.

“We can see patterns and different things, increasing our patrol, increasing surveillance, that we may need to do in the area to reduce crime,” said Det. Sgt. Joseph Fanara with the Blue Springs Police Department. “In some of the shopping districts in past years we were having problems, lots of cars in the parking lot, so we were having shoppers come back out, they were missing items from their cars or their cars were being stolen.”

Officers said the effort is leading to more arrests or simply scaring off the thieves.

“When they see more police officers in the area that's a target-rich environment, the crimes are dropping,” Fanara said.