HARRISBURG, Pa., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- On behalf of Gov. Tom Ridge, State Police Commissioner Paul J. Evanko today unveiled a web-based Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system that provides instant access to state crime data and enhances the accuracy of that data. The website can be reached through the PA PowerPort at www.state.pa.us or directly at www.psp.state.pa.us. "The public now can view the Pennsylvania crime statistics online as soon as police enter the data," Col. Evanko said. "This new system -- the first of its kind in the country -- enables police departments throughout the Commonwealth to file their crime information electronically. "It's another example of the Ridge Administration's commitment to making Pennsylvania a national leader in the use of technology to prevent, solve and track crime. "UCR data is used by police departments and municipal officials to measure trends they can use to adjust their crime-fighting efforts and resources. The more accurate and complete the data, the more valuable it becomes as a planning tool. "We also believe that the ease of this new program will encourage departments that have not participated in the UCR program in the past to begin filing their crime statistics." Col. Evanko said police departments used to gather crime data monthly and mail it to State Police, who entered the information into a computer program. When errors were detected, State Police mailed the information back to the department for corrections. Now, departments enter the UCR data directly into a State Police database via the Internet. If an error is detected, the database notifies the department and requires that it be corrected before the information is accepted. Prior to this year, information submitted by the departments was not available to the public until State Police published the annual Uniform Crime Report. Now citizens can go to the website and view the data as soon as it is submitted. The system allows users to create their own queries to access specific crime information by department, by county or statewide. Col. Evanko noted that, during the past year, State Police have conducted training for local police departments to help them become familiar with the new system. "The system will allow departments to report their numbers in the traditional summary format and, when they are ready, to begin reporting in the incident-based format that is preferred by the Federal Bureau of Investigation," Col. Evanko said. Col. Evanko said development of the $2.3 million system was funded through the Governor's budget and through grants totaling about $800,000 from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The new system went online last month. It was designed and implemented by the State Police Bureau of Research and Development with assistance from Electronic Data Systems, with offices in Camp Hill, Cumberland County, and Information Builders, with offices in Plymouth Meeting, Montgomery County. Gov. Ridge won sweeping reforms to Pennsylvania's criminal justice system through his Special Session on Crime, called immediately after his inauguration in January 1995. That session produced more than three-dozen new laws to crack down on violent crimes; to elevate victims' rights; to reform the state's juvenile-justice system; and to give law enforcement new tools to fight crime. Today, Pennsylvania's State Police crime-fighting arsenal includes: -- Computer-equipped State Police patrol cars that enable troopers responding to a criminal incident or making a traffic stop to have instant access to national and state vehicle-registration data, operator license information, wanted-person checks, and other critical information. They also will enable troopers to record information and prepare reports at the scene; -- Mobile crime-laboratory vans linked to a new statewide fingerprint identification system. Troopers can transmit fingerprints lifted at the scene of a crime directly to headquarters. If a match is found, troopers can know the identity of a suspect before leaving the scene; -- The Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS), which uses the latest computer technology to capture images of the microscopic features found on the surfaces of fired bullets and cartridge cases. The images are stored in a State Police database that is tied in with a growing number of databases nationwide; -- Creation of a State Police DNA computer database, with links to a national database. The technology gives police in Pennsylvania access to the genetic profiles of hundreds of thousands of convicted violent offenders nationwide; -- Forensic mapping systems that use computerized surveying equipment to map traffic crash sites and criminal scenes; -- A new mobile command post used by State Police to direct operations at significant events; -- Upgraded and new criminal laboratory equipment, including an electron- scanning microscope; -- Portable intoximeters that use fuel-cell technology to measure a person's blood alcohol content; and -- Computerized polygraphs, or lie detectors, used with a laptop computer and printer. CONTACT: Jack J. Lewis or Cpl. Lucien R. Southard, 717-783-5556, of the Pennsylvania State Police Department.
SOURCE Pennsylvania State Police Department