PTC to email crime alerts

Tue, 08/14/2007 - 4:46pm
By: John Munford

Peachtree City police are rolling out a program that will email crime alerts and other information to citizens and businesses.

The alerts will take the form of “lookouts” containing descriptions of missing persons and automobiles, for example, and also crime prevention strategies, said Police Chief James Murray.

Since some residents view their email on their cellphone or PDA, the email system could be very handy, especially in helping find a stolen car or golf cart, for example, Murray said.

“We can’t be everywhere at once ... but people here report crime,” Murray said, noting that about 95 percent of arrests are assisted in some way by ordinary citizens.

Police will be careful about not overusing the I-Net Crime and Community Alert system, realizing that email is an instant means of communication, Murray said. Citizens and businesses will have the option of replying via email with information on crimes, or they can also call a phone number to share information, Murray noted.

Murray views the system as a critical link that may turn up information from residents and others who haven’t before communicated with the department. In other ways it will ultimately save on manpower, he said, as officers will not have to go door-to-door to distribute photos of armed robbery suspects and the like. Instead, the information will be submitted instantly via email.

The system can also be used to communicate with schools who are on security lock-down for various reasons, Murray noted.

Murray said the department is compiling the email database on its own and administrative staff will enter the information as it comes in on forms submitted by businesses and individuals. In other words, it’s free because there’s no software vendor involved, as the program is being done by staff, Murray added.

Still, “it’s a big project,” Murray said, noting that he hopes to have a test run conducted in the near future.

Under the program, bank robbery information will be sent to all banks on the email list, while lookout information on stolen golf carts would be sent to all residential email addresses, police said. Information on shoplifters and suspicious persons in retail areas would be sent to all commercial establishments, and everyone would get announcements on community events such as the citizen’s police academy and the community emergency response team, police said.

The email will sometimes include a photo if relevant, police said.

Murray said the idea for the program came from Maj. Mike Dupree, who has noticed similar programs while visiting other police departments across the country as an on-site assessor for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, of which the Peachtree City Police Department is a member.

Interested persons must sign up for the I-Net Crime and Community Alert Program using a form available at the police department and also online at The forms must be returned to the police department.

Persons may later unsubscribe to the alerts if they wish, police said.

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