Toledo Police are tracking one anothers' locations with upgraded GPS systems. Theyâ??re fielding anonymous tips online. Theyâ??re patrolling the city with Sky Cop cameras andâ??even with all those new tech toolsâ??theyâ??re working toward one old school philosophy: assigning officers to designated neighborhoods to build trust.
NBC 24 took an inside look at the Toledo Police Department and the new tech tools theyâ??re using to fight crime. Lt. Ed Bombrys, Commander of the Toledo Police Gang Unit, allowed us to accompany him on one of his shifts.
Less than an hour into the ride, Lt. Bombrys responded to a call of shots fired and found a red car turned upside down. The driver of the car said he was chasing three men who tried to rob him when his car flipped.
The incident is logged in Lt. Bombrysâ?? mobile computer, on an upgraded, interactive timeline installed in patrol cars across Lucas County in June.
â??You might miss something you hear over the radio,â?? Lt. Bombrys said. â??Itâ??s always nice to double check that information onscreen.â??
Itâ??s called Computer Aided Dispatch. The upgraded system includes GPS locators that police can use to send the closest officers to the crime scene, cutting down on response time.
Thatâ??s just one of the new tech tools police are using to fight crime.
TPD will soon release a feature allowing residents to file police reports online. Currently, a crime map on the departmentâ??s website lets residents submit anonymous tips.
Lt. Bombrys says itâ??s no secret that witnesses are slow to talk when it comes to gang crimes. Police hope the tips feature will help push witnesses past that hurdle.
After the flipped car incident, Bombrys heads to the Cherrywood Apartments, where he spots a group dressed in gang colors. When he circles around the block, neighbors donâ??t tell him much.
NBC 24 returned to the North End later that week, and found Larry Warnimont a couple miles from the apartments. Heâ??s a north Toledo blockwatch activist whoâ??s sick of the crime in his neighborhood. He recounted some of the crimes that have happened near his home.
â??We had one get beat up pretty bad and kidnapped,â?? Warnimont said. â??But, fortunately, thanks to God, sheâ??s okay today.â??
If a crime happens on his property, itâ??s bound to be caught on one of his eight security cameras. Warnimont hopes his cameras, along with blockwatch activism, will deter criminals.
He says he wants to see more police officers designated to his neighborhood, and Toledo Police want the same thing. The departmentâ??s implementing a method called beat integrity, which assigns officers to specific areas so the locals are more comfortable with them.
Itâ??s an old school idea in the digital age, and thatâ??s a combination that works well for residents like Larry.
The anonymous tips feature, along with the interactive crime map, can be accessed at ToledoPolice.com. The department hopes to launch the online crime reports feature by the end of summer.