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Citizen Notification Service’s CrimeWeb

Citizen Notification Service (CNS) is an Internet technology company that provides Web-based, non-emergency and emergency notification services for federal, state, and local governments, universities and school districts to share information directly with the public via e-mail, SMS and phone.

One of the oldest notification services available, the CrimeWeb application by CNS meets the communication needs of law enforcement agencies. CrimeWeb is the most advanced system of its type, developed and maintained by current and retired police and FBI personnel. The system is professionally hosted in a Tier 1 hosting facility in Dallas that has on-site personnel 24/7 and redundant power (www.theplanet.com). They also use a sophisticated program to handle e-mail “bounces” (bad addresses), so the system remains fast and effective.

Since 2001, the CrimeWeb clearinghouse has issued more than 13 million notifications to citizens in every state in the nation. The CrimeWeb system targets alerts using zip codes. Alerts can be sent to specific zip codes, multiple zip codes, and to any geographical area located between any two zip codes. The alerts may contain multiple images (that may be enlarged by the recipient), document attachments (such as fliers, wanted posters, PowerPoint presentations, etc.), and a mapping interface to allow citizens to view the area detailed in the alert. Each alert may also be viewed in Spanish with the click of a button. Other languages are also available upon request. A configurable feedback link to allow information to be provided by citizens may also be included in each alert.

Alerts are delivered directly to desktop computers, cell phones or PDAs. Since the system is entirely Web-based, upgrades and enhancements are available to all public safety users at no extra cost. In CrimeWeb’s last release, the company added the ability to upload and embed videos directly into each alert. Some recent examples can be found at www.crimeweb.net. Other CrimeWeb videos may be viewed at www.youtube.com/crimeweb.

The service is offered free to citizens. The yearly cost for public safety agencies begins at $550.00 for unlimited use (the yearly cost is based on the population served). This includes hosting, maintenance and “train-the-trainer” training via the Web. Once your account is established, an agency can add as many internal users as desired.

Since the system is totally Web-based, there is no need for special software or additional hardware. A

lerts can be sent from any desktop or mobile computer with Internet connectivity. If the public safety agency has mobile data computers with Internet access, alerts may also be issued directly from the field.

CrimeWeb holds a patent for sending alerts of this type directly from mobile data computers in police vehicles. In addition, CNS has built an interface to the system that allows it to be used in conjunction with most traditional phone-based reverse 9-1-1 systems. When the “hybrid” system is deployed, alerts can be sent using CrimeWeb alone, or in conjunction with the reverse 9-1-1 system.

CNS also uses its patented technology to build specialized, stand-alone alerting systems for state and county governments and school districts. You can view two of the latest deployments of “Citizen Notification Service” via the following links: www.arlingtoncns.com and www.mesquitecns.com.

Even if an agency does not choose to subscribe to CrimeWeb, CNS never charges to use its technology for missing or abducted children or adults, and it will establish a free account for any agency for those types of alerts. n

Published in Public Safety IT, Jul/Aug 2009

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