Volunteer helps SJPD map high crime areas

·2 min read

Aug. 11—The St. Joseph Police Department is working to minimize crime with a new method of tracking areas where incidents are repeatedly occurring.

Sgt. Matt Kneib, a crime analyst for SJPD, hired a volunteer to help map spots throughout the area with frequent crime records.

"We had an individual reach out to us that wanted to volunteer and help with crime analytics and stuff," he said. "She learned quickly our software program that we use and started looking at ways to look at crime analytics based off previous crime incidents."

According to the police department, last year's annual crime statistics for the city showed an increase in both burglary and aggravated assaults. Of those two key issues, assault is a major problem that the police department is working to decrease.

Kneib said crime is continuing to evolve, so it is important for law enforcement to stay on top of it.

"Our city is broken up into districts, and that is exactly how our officers work," he said. "We'll explain to that officer that's working in a particular area different area(s) of concern, different crimes that are occurring and things for them to be watching for."

He said the volunteer does mapping through the computer system while he listens for any information she finds to look deeper into the issue.

"It's very helpful for me being in crime prevention and involved with the neighborhood watch group," he said. "Whenever I have an area that reports issues going on, she can look at crime mapping and I can check on what the issue is while I'm out."

While continuing to work on crime prevention, the department is currently in the process of developing techniques and new software programs that can help them reach crime areas at a faster rate.