Crime stats at Pennsylvania's fingertips

The Pennsylvania State Police launched a crime-reporting Web site that provides instant access to detailed statewide crime statistics.

The Uniform Crime Reporting System's Web site (ucr.psp.state.pa.us) is the result of a collaboration among Web business intelligence firm Information Builders Inc., Electronic Data Systems Corp. and the Pennsylvania State Police. It is designed to help police fight crime more effectively while enabling citizens to have immediate access to the crime statistics of towns, counties, regions and college campuses.

Crime data previously was released in an annual report.

The Uniform Crime Reporting System site enables law enforcement and citizens to analyze fresh data on a month-by-month basis. Features include trend monitoring and tracking through archived data, personalized queries and access to the annual "Crime in PA" report.

"The system we had was 25 years old and was in need of a major update," said Carey Robinson, unit supervisor for the State Police. "Departments were sending us their reports assuming that their data was correct, but it often wasn't, and we'd end up spending time correcting their data."

The site uses Information Builder's WebFocus, a Web-based application that tries to achieve greater functionality between networked systems. The program runs on Microsoft Corp. Windows NT, Unix, Linux and other operating systems, so it is flexible enough to fit a given infrastructure — intranet, extranet or Internet.

"The technology that we have doesn't mean a lot unless you have a specific business plan, opportunity or problem to solve," said Steve Robichaud, state and local practice manager for Information Builders. In the case of the Pennsylvania State Police, the problem was with crime-reporting capabilities.

The new system is the first Web-based unified crime reporting system at the state level that allows for a complete tie-in from most local areas of law enforcement up to the federal level, Robichaud said.

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