Police officers in Wichita Falls have an extra set of eyes on crime because of technology. It's called ATACRAIDS, which stands for Automated Tactical Analysis of Crime Regional Analysis and Information Data Sharing.
“It will allow our officers to get a better picture of what is taking place in the city, or specifically on their beat,” Sgt. Harold McClure with the Wichita Falls Police Department said.
He said the technology, even helps predict where crimes happen.
“There's been cases where officers have kind of gone where ATACRAIDS has directed them and they've been able to apprehend some car burglars,” he said.
Although it works, officers know it's not 100-percent accurate.
Sgt. McClure said, “It's just another tool for the patrol officer to utilize.”
He said officers are already assigned “beats.” Meaning they have a certain section of town that they patrol. So, when they start their shift the officers want to know what happened in their area so they don't miss something.
We're going to see where the crime's being committed and we're going to focus our efforts in those particular areas," he said.
For example, if an officer wants to know what happened in a specific area, all they have to do is log on to ATACRAIDS, and select which crimes they want to look at.
Sgt. McClure said, "You can pick any event you want. I mean, it ranges from homicide all the way down to vandalism."
Then they will see with the colors, red indicating the most frequent or targeted area where it's happening.
“It updates fairly quickly and what I mean by fairly quickly is within hours,” he said.
Since it is updated so quickly, officers are able to get a pretty good picture of what's going on and where they need to be. Sgt. McClure said officers will even be pulled off their beat to join other officers if the target areas are being hit, or if they want to focus on the area more.
Instead of just reacting to calls, we try to be more proactive and get our officers in areas where the crimes are taking place and hopefully prevent them," he said.
Many Texomans we spoke to off camera said sometimes they have noticed more officers in a specific area. However, some of them thought it was because something was going on, not necessarily because officers were trying to prevent a crime from happening. Once they found out about the technology and what it does, they all agreed it made sense and that it made them feel safer.
One concern some Texomans had was if more officers were in an area, they it would encourage the person to commit the crime somewhere else.
Sgt. McClure said, “What's going to happen is then our officers are then going to move to that area and they're going to target that area until we eventually catch the suspect.”
Sgt. McClure said there isn't one particular area that is always getting hit by crime. He said it comes and goes in waves. He said crimes will decrease, especially if they have just made an arrest in that area.
He said ATACRAIDS has helped reduce crime rates in Wichita Falls.
“Since 2008 till 2014 we have had actually a 30-percent decrease in reported crimes,” Sgt. McClure said.
If you want to see where crime is happening, or what types of crimes are happening in your area, there is a public website called RAIDS Online. Click
to take a look.