Sheriff uses Web to notify public of crimes
San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has begun to distribute public safety notifications through Nixle, a free Web-based service provided by Nixle LLC. And, in another neighborhood connection, the public can use crimemapping.com to learn quickly what’s going on in town.
Residents may register for public safety alerts by going to the Nixle Web site (www.nixle.com) and clicking the “Residence Sign Up Now” button.
Once registered, users will receive messages by e-mail and by text to their wireless phones. Messages are categorized as Alerts, Advisories, Community Information and Traffic.
Recent examples of Nixle messages sent by the Sheriff’s Department include those of missing at-risk persons, the search for an armed suspect, and notification of a prescription drug take-back program.
There is no charge to use this service, and users’ information is not given or sold to any other entities.
“The real strength of Nixle is that we can target a geographic area in making nogeographic area in making notifications,” said Sheriff Bill Gore. “This helps to ensure the information you get is relevant to your community.”
While Nixle will be helpful in distributing important public safety information, it will not take the place of Reverse 911 and Alert San Diego when critical messages requiring immediate protective action is necessary, said Gore. “Nixle will augment existing resources in times of emergencies. When notifications are given to evacuate or shelter-in-place, residents should anticipate those messages will be by telephone from Reverse 911.”
More information about Nixle, including answers to frequently asked questions may be found on the Sheriff’s web site at www.sdsheriff.net/nixle/.
In Ramona, Barbara Wallace, crime prevention specialist at the sheriff’s Ramona Substation, has been informing residents about Nixle during her talks to community and neighborhood groups. Anyone wishing to talk to Wallace or schedule a group presentation may contact her at the Ramona station at 760-738-2425.
Wallace’s talks also include information about www.crimemapping.com. Once users access the crimemapping site on the Internet, they enter an address or select the San Diego Sheriff’s Department from the list of agencies. Wallace has suggested that users enter their address or the sheriff’s Ramona Substation, 1424 Montecito Road. When the map appears, click on a crime and the specific time, date and hundred-block of the incident will show up in the incident box.
The Nixle and crimemapping Web sites are state-of-the art programs that complement programs such as Neighborhood Watch, said Wallace. “Well-informed people make better decisions.”
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