County Police Autodialer Phones Home For Crime Prevention
Baltimore County’s Autodialer system made almost 40,000 calls in 2002, warning citizens of local crime and possible threats to their interests.
The system is seven years old and is sponsored by a $5,000 grant from the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council. Autodialer is operated by the police department, which employs four people to analyze local crimes such as auto theft or burglary and look for a pattern.
If a pattern is found the police can specialize warning calls to local residents either in an entire neighborhood, or on one city block.
The system has helped catch at least one criminal, and possibly deterred criminals who received warning calls.
“We don’t want to alarm people, but people in general want to be notified when something is going on in their community,” notes Philip R. Canter of the county police department’s criminal analysis section.
The Regional Auto Task Force also makes use of the Autodialer system, which can quickly notify large numbers of people if car thieves are targeting specific models in a particular area, explains task force member Lt. Barry Barber.
People who get Autodialer messages are encouraged to call a hotline at 410-583-2309 to receive up-to-date information on local crimes and safety recommendations. Such information is revised at least once per week, according to Canter.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Arbutus Times (05/15/03); Robbins, Mary T.