NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) - The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office launched a new interactive website Tuesday that maps criminal complaints and investigations by location throughout the county.
Users can access the website CrimeReports, enter their Hamilton County address or ZIP code, and see 911 calls and police reports in recent days, weeks or months.
Hamilton County Sheriff Mark Bowen said the data comes directly from their communications center's calls for law enforcement service.
"Oftentimes people inquire about things happening in their communities and this is just a tool that allows us to share that data with them," Bowen said.
CrimeReports lists incidents like theft, assault, disturbances, burglaries and vandalism throughout Hamilton County. It also connects to the Indiana State Sex Offender registry and alerts property owners about offenders living in their areas. The goal isn't to scare residents, according to the sheriff, but to give them information that they can use to keep themselves and their neighbors more safe.
"Sometimes people can become complacent and not lock their doors, leave valuables in their vehicles," Bowen said. "I think folks will be surprised to realize how many thefts and burglaries go on in this community and this map will help them be better able to understand that and take those precautions to look after themselves and make sure they're not becoming victims of crime."
24-Hour News Eight took CrimeReports on a test drive with several Noblesville residents at the Hamilton County Public Library.
"It's pretty scaring knowing even if you're in a good neighborhood there's still something going on," said Kendra Whetsel, who looked up her old Noblesville address. "I saw that not too far from our house was a drug deal, an assault and a lot of other things. I was kind of shocked."
"If anything every comes up, I will know about it," said John Parrish, who already checks crime reports for his neighborhood.
He said he prefers the Sheriff's Office Crime Reports to his other reporting outlets.
"It actually shows me what's around my area," he said.
CrimeReports in Hamilton County is similar to SafeTown in Marion County. Bowen said Noblesville and Westfield already operated a similar service and now the entire county functions with CrimeReports.
Bowen added that crime reports are listed without victim names or addresses to protect victim identity and police investigations. Some crimes are not reported to the website for the same reason. All calls reported are given as they were called in to law enforcement, and do not necessarily reflect the result of the investigation. Anyone can access the website anytime at this link.