CARLISLE — The Carlisle Police Department has stretched out onto the World Wide Web, all in an effort to better inform the public and potentially catch more criminals.
At Thursday’s meeting of the Carlisle Borough Council, Matt Bloom, founder of the Carlisle-based company Crimewatch Pennsylvania, unveiled the local police force as the latest addition to the online reporting system.
Crimewatch Pennsylvania is a website service designed specifically for police departments. Sites for each police department have a similar look, which Bloom said was developed to present a professional feel and includes the latest reports from police, information about most-wanted individuals and ways for the public to interact with the police via email, phone or an online form for submitting tips anonymously.
“For the same reason the chief is wearing a uniform today, for the same reason the cruisers are branded, when the public engages the police on the Internet we want them to have that same professional and consistent appearance,” Bloom said.
Along with being a stand-alone site, Carlisle’s Crimewatch website will be linked to social media accounts set up for Carlisle Police.
“The goal in sharing this information is to be slightly more transparent about the things that the police department is dealing with on a daily basis,” Bloom said. “We share this information with the public as a goal of engagement. Once we have the people engaged we can ask them for help in solving crimes. We use the public as a workforce multiplier.”
Bloom said within the first year he hoped to see Carlisle’s site reach 10 percent, or 1,800 to 1,900 individuals, of the site’s total potential reach. He projected that number would triple within the next two years.
Since the website’s inception last week, at least one person has already turned themselves in due to their information being posted.
“We all know crime doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” Bloom said, highlighting the ability for municipalities to share information through the Crimewatch network.
There are currently nearly 20 police departments, district attorney’s offices and crime prevention groups enrolled with Crimewatch Pennsylvania.
Carlisle’s site can be found at www.carlislepd.com and a mobile app for Apple devices is available through the App Store by searching for Crimewatch mobile.
“This new website is the perfect entry point for establishing better police and public partnerships,” Carlisle Police Chief Stephen Margeson said in a written statement. “Technology gives us the opportunity to communicate with the public and the anonymity of the tech avoids the potential risks of sharing information with the police ... several police departments throughout the region are having great success using this technology.”