Goodyear police launch new crime-mapping website

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

GOODYEAR, Ariz., -- The Goodyear Police Department is the latest law enforcement agency in the Valley to put its crime stats online for all to see.

"It's a great way to engage the community and get them involved in law enforcement," said Goodyear police spokeswoman Lisa Kutis. "We're bridging that gap between law enforcement and the community so that we can work together to solve crimes."

The site is RAIDS Online. The department's stats went live Monday.

"We have an employee who goes through crime from that day. They place it in a secure folder that RAIDS Online is then able to access and upload to their system," Kutis said.

That is done on a daily basis, so what happens today is online by tomorrow.

All you have to do to find out what is happening in your neighborhood is enter your exact address or city. From there you can select all crimes or just a few.

"Your red spots are your hot spots for where there's a little bit more crime," Kutis said.

Kimberly Vinson and her family know a lot about crime hot spots. In fact, they say they're living in one.

"We had come home, and somebody had actually broken into our trailer and stolen thousands of dollars worth of stuff, "Vinson said. "We have a 5-month-old baby, and a lot of it was her stuff and a lot of it was his tools."

She told 3TV there is also a registered sex offender down the street, but they did not know that or just how crime-ridden the neighborhood was until after they moved in.

"I wouldn't have moved here if I'd known about all of it," Bryan Rose said.

Goodyear police say this website will help people to make more educated decisions when it comes to where they want to live, something Vinson and Rose both say would have been helpful for them.

Still, they say knowing the website is up and running actually makes them feel a little bit safer because knowledge is power.

"I think it's going to be a much better thing, especially in this area because of the amount of crime that does happen over here. Having it more accessible for families to be able to see what's going on in their area is going to be better," Vinson said.

While neighborhoods would seem to be the obvious beneficiaries of a crime-mapping site, local business owners say it's a great tool for them too.

"A business that deals with cash and everything, we have to be alert of those things. People are getting really destitute, and we don't want to be victims of anything like that," said Mane Envy Salon & Spa owner Toya Wilhite.

The site not only shows you what is going on, but it also allows for people to play an active role by submitting anonymous tips.

"To me, it would be like a neighborhood watch, but you could get it fast, up to date and have a place to go check it out and a place to turn someone in if you needed to," Kathy Usher of Usher Brand said.

All the business owners we spoke with agree that the site is not only an easy way to stay informed but a good way to bring shops and neighborhoods alike together to help curb crime.

"If we're all involved, that would help to reassure us that we have partners in this fight," Wilhite said.

For those who are not near a computer all the time, you can actually sign up for email or text alerts. There is also a mobile app for RAIDS too.

Kutis told 3TV the website is a free service.