Two local police departments have tapped a nationwide service that maps crime reports, giving people a new way to stay informed about what is going on in their neighborhoods, officials said.

Two local police departments have tapped a nationwide service that maps crime reports, giving people a new way to stay informed about what is going on in their neighborhoods, officials said.

The Central Point and Medford police departments are subscribing to CrimeMapping.com, a service from San Diego-based The Omega Group.

The service, paid for by a monthly subscription fee, collects information from police reports and displays details on a map. The maps show symbols representing 15 types of crime, including robberies, burglaries, thefts, weapons violations, drug crimes and more, as well as details about when the crime happened. Not all crimes are shown on the interactive maps, police said.

In addition to maps showing when, where and what crimes have been reported, the service offers e-mail alerts that notify users of crimes reported in a selected area.

It also can provide analysis of crime trends and lists of crimes.

"Hopefully, people will use it to know what is going on in their neighborhoods, and our officers can use it to help keep track of what's going on in their beat," Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen said.

In a release announcing the service, Central Point police Sgt. Josh Moulin said prospective homeowners and businesses might find the tool particularly useful to learn about neighborhoods. It also has the potential to make residents more aware of their surroundings and could help them prevent crimes or provide police with clues when crimes occur.

Central Point and Medford are the only two cities in Oregon that use CrimeMapping.com. Hansen said the service met his department's needs and costs about $100 a month. The Omega Group provides a variety of recordkeeping and analysis software for public agencies, including police, fire departments and schools, according to its Web site.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department and Ashland police use a Utah-based company, CrimeReports.com, to provide similar services.

Find links to all the local crime maps at www.mailtribune.com/emergency.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.