Crime map, Radar Speed Signs, first steps in community safety initiative

Angie Talken
Chillicothe News

The Chillicothe Police Department (CPD) began a community safety initiative in 2020 after Chillicothe voters passed the law enforcement tax, Chillicothe Police Chief Jon Maples said the department is now finalizing the initiative with the first focus being on the community and its safety. 

"As of April 9, we have the LexisNexis® Community Crime Map and four Radar Speed Display Trailers," Maples said in a press release. 

The LexisNexis® Community Crime Map connects law enforcement with the community to reduce crime and improve public safety. Crime mapping helps the public get a better idea of the crime activity in their area so they can make more informed decisions about how to stay safe. This also assists law enforcement with analyzing and problem-solving crime in problematic areas, along with analyzing staffing issues and time frames.

"The Community Crime Map goes beyond crime mapping by automatically alerting the public about recent crime activity and by improving communication between the public and law enforcement through anonymous tips," Maples said. "The Community Crime Map empowers the public to make better decisions about crime by putting the same technology used by law enforcement to analyze and interpret crime activity into the hands of the public.  This will continue to assist in the great partnership between the police department and the community, creating a safer community."

The Lexis Nexis Community Crime Map can be found on the City of Chillicothe website at https://www.chillicothecity.org/police-department or https://communitycrimemap.com/.

The Chillicothe Police Department just purchased, and began using four Radar Speed Signs. Police Chief Jon Maples said these signs are the next step in controlling traffic speed. It’s an additional LED lit sign that sits just below the static speed limit sign and is capable of recording the speed of an oncoming vehicle and then display it through the LED lights.

Residents will also notice there are now four Radar Speed Display Trailers, which Maples said, will be used in various places within the community.

"The most frequent and consistent complaint we receive from our citizens relates to excessive speed by motorists in residential areas," he said. 

Radar Speed Signs are the next step in controlling traffic speed. It’s an additional LED lit sign that sits just below the static speed limit sign. It is capable of recording the speed of an oncoming vehicle and then display it through the LED lights. The main device used for recording speed is called a speed gun, which is usually placed at a reasonable distance before the speed sign so that it can capture the speed, and then display it by the time the driver passes by the sign.

"The Radar Speed Display Trailers will be a great tool for the police department by providing active visual feedback to motorists. This will assist the police department with speeding violations and will enable our agency to collect traffic data that will be paramount in targeted enforcement measures," Maples said. "We will place these in problematic areas, collect data, and focus patrol units in those areas."

Benefits of using a Radar Speed Sign, include:

  • Survey and reports from different sources and highway authorities have indicated that drivers can capture and process the information shown by the LED more easily and effectively as opposed to the conventional ways of showing speed limits.
  • §A bit more complex type of benefit is a combination of flexibility and ease. Since they are small in size (some can fit in the trunk of a car), they’re easy to carry and it takes only a short time to deploy them at a convenient place. It is easy to transport to any place needed by the law enforcement officers and then they can readily deploy and record data for the passing vehicles and then use that data to make a point about speeding problems with the latest updated information.
  • The above-mentioned point helps to gather data for research and higher-level decision making and some basic statistical data for finding trends.
  • Many times the drivers will mistakenly over speed and then receive tickets from the officers. With radar speed signs, sometimes overspeeding drivers are given a chance to correct their speed, and it has been seen that by the time they reach the second-speed radar sign, their speed is taken below the limit. This results in happier drivers and safer roads.
  • Radar Speed Signs reduce the need for humps and bumps for slowing down a vehicle. In emergency situations, ambulances, fire service, police vehicles and other first responders need to rush to the scene immediately and humps can slow them down. Every second matters in those moments.
  • They reduce the need for manpower. With speed guns and radar signs in place, most drivers comply, even if they mistakenly speed up, they reduce their speed earlier and avoid tickets. A traffic officer doesn’t need to keep standing or chase down a speeding vehicle every now and then. That officer can apply his time to a more serious task.

"We will continue to partner with the community by focusing on community policing and evidence-based policing.  A partnership between the police and the community will only make us a better and safer community," Maples said.