The Baltimore County Police Department announced this week that it is now providing a weekly online news resource, including a crime blotter, for each of its 10 precincts.
The precinct officers supply content for the pages, including a summary of crimes listed on their weekly significant crimes reports.
The precinct web pages will not be used to provide breaking news alerts, but each page includes precinct-level contact information.
The precinct pages are available on the County's web site:
Precinct 1/Wilkens http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/precinct1
Precinct 2/Woodlawn - http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/precinct2
Precinct 3/Franklin - http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/precinct3
Precinct 4/Pikesville - http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/precinct4
Precinct 6/Towson - http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/precinct6
Precinct 7/Cockeysville - http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/precinct7
Precinct 8/Parkville - http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/precinct8
Precinct 9/White Marsh - http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/precinct9
Precinct 11/Essex - http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/precinct11
Precinct 12/North Point - http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/precinct12
Department officials said that communities accustomed to receiving local crime information from precinct captains through email distribution lists will continue to receive communication from those officers.
Elise Armacost, director of media and communications for Baltimore County Public Safety, said the new pages were not a direct response to the brief controversy surrounding the weekly emailed crime reports that have been sent to residents from the Towson precinct for several years.
"The issue of precinct-level news is something we've been looking at for months because we know people want this information," Armacost said.
"The goal is not to make every precinct a carbon copy of the other," she said. "Each precinct is different, each captain is different and they will be providing the content. ... There's going to be variation in pages. … But at minimum, we want to provide weekly crime blotter information to every precinct.
"As it is, some of our residents are getting that. In Towson they were, but there are residents of other precincts that were not getting it," Armacost said. "By making this information available on our website, we're making it available to many, many more people than it has been."
The pages also include a "news you can use" section about upcoming police events, crime prevention tips, police fund raisers, planned road closures and accomplishments by local precinct officers.
Officials said that posting community police news at http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/police is an attempt to make information available to all citizens.
The Fire Department Twitter feed is http://www.twitter.com/BACOfiredept and the Emergency Management feed is http://www.twitter.com/BACOemergency.