Huntley aims to map crime

HUNTLEY – Police want to develop an online mapping tool that will allow residents to scour data and monitor criminal activity in Huntley neighborhoods.

The Internet project is the department’s response to a villagewide survey of 2,600 residents in summer. About 800 residents – mostly from Sun City – responded to a survey sent by email and on the village website about the department’s effectiveness in policing streets and neighborhoods.

The mostly favorable responses pointed to a need for timely and accessible information on crimes, from vandalism to felonies, Deputy Chief Mike Klunk said.

“People want more timely information. I think it’s the sign of the times,” Klunk said. “If they are looking for vandalism or car burglaries or felonies ... we would like to have a website set up where they can pick and choose information on whatever interests them.”

Still in the conceptual stage, the goal is an online tool to display crimes on a map and allow users to access key information about a specific crime, Klunk said.

The department has yet to budget money for the project. Police also have to devise how to deliver information promptly and yet protect sensitive details of crimes.

The department plans to develop the tool in 2013, Klunk said.

Overall, survey respondents had a favorable opinon of Huntley’s police force. The department received a 93 percent approval rating, which is up 25 percent from the last time police polled residents in 2009.

An overwhelming majority – 92 percent – said they felt safe walking in their neighborhoods. But 58 percent said they were fearful of becoming a crime victim.

That discrepancy, Klunk said, could be explained by a rash of burglaries in the heavily populated Sun City retirement community in the past two years. Burglaries have subsided there as police have increased patrols, he said.

The village is assessing its individual departments in a separate survey. The police department also will be covered in a regional survey conducted by the University of Illinois – Chicago in 2013.

“We work for the community, so these [surveys] give the community an opportunity to assess where we are at,” Klunk said.

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