July 22, 2009 10:37:00 AM
Neal Wagner -
The Columbus Police Department will be using an increase in traffic and parking fines to fund a software-based crime information program for officers and city residents, CPD Chief Joseph St. John announced during a Tuesday City Council meeting.
The department after Tuesday will begin charging an additional $1 per traffic and parking ticket, and will use the additional revenue generated to purchase and install the software system at CPD headquarters.
"With this software, we can produce reports and give them to officers. We can also give them to members of the public with limited information," St. John explained. "The program will allow us to look seriously at crimes that are happening in certain areas."
The software will allow officers and CPD officials to map and document crimes, offenders'' names and other statistics throughout the city, St. John explained.
"The system we have now is very cumbersome to say the least. Everything is pushed through by hand," St. John said. "This system will allow us to more easily identify trends, names of offenders and the things that are happening in certain areas of the city."
The program also will allow police to more easily provide crime statistics for area residents, which is difficult to do with the department''s current software, the chief explained.
"With the new software, someone can come to us and say ''I live here. Can you tell me what kind of crimes are happening in my neighborhood?''" St. John said. "Then we can print something off and give it to that person that won''t endanger any investigations or give information we haven''t released.
"This is a pretty intensive program that will help us to identify trends and give people information about their neighborhoods," St. John added. "I think that will go a long way toward crime prevention."
In other business, the council:
n Voted unanimously to pass an emergency resolution to keep the city''s drainage problems before the state Legislature.
"An emergency resolution will help keep the issue before the legislators," said Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box. "We are trying to get something done about the drainage problems in the city, especially in the Masonic subdivision."
"This resolution is to show support from the mayor and the council to hopefully get something done about this problem," Columbus Mayor Robert Smith said.
City officials Thursday will meet with representatives from federal agencies in an attempt to secure funding for drainage improvement projects in East Columbus, Smith said.
"I''ll have more information about all of that after our Thursday morning meeting at City Hall," Smith said after the City Council meeting.
n Briefly addressed the city''s annexation plans.
"There was a very good article in the paper the other day about the city''s annexation plans," Box said. "I just want everyone to understand that all that information is very preliminary.
"We will all be meeting on several occasions to discuss our annexation plans," Box added. "The wards will not be diluted by any means as a result of annexation. The Justice Department governs that type of thing heavily."