OCEANSIDE, Calif. — A new crime-mapping tool is being rolled out by the Oceanside Police Department. It’s designed to create transparency and help people stay informed about issues in the community.

“We’re just happy that there’s another opportunity for our community to arm themselves and prevent crime and hopefully reduce their fear of crime in their area. It activates the community as a whole to be vigilant and to take care of not only themselves but their neighbors,” said Cpt. Sean Marchand with the Oceanside Police Department.

The online tool known as First Watch is designed for transparency and awareness, showing the community the amount of calls the department has responded to over the last 12 to 48 hours through colored location pins spanned across a map of the city.

“We simplify that and put it into plain English, so people understand….and then we have a pin map of the city that demonstrates where those calls have happened over the last 12, 24 and 48 hours,” Marchand said.

The initiative is bringing one Oceanside resident, Joseph Peterson, peace of mind.

“It’s important to know what areas in town are safer and what areas in town have issues, but we will also be able to see if there are some issues encroaching on our specific neighborhood,” Peterson explained.

The map also identifies what kind of incident is taking place, categorizing activity through a color system identifying any disturbances, suspicious activity, welfare checks, assaults, traffic reports and so on.

By being able to see as time goes on you can say, ‘oh there were some car break-ins a few blocks from here. We need to be a little bit more vigilant. We may need to get some outdoor cameras.’ To be aware of the changes as they’re happening is very important.”

Joseph Peterson, Oceanside Resident

The tool is a project six months in the making, and funded by the half-cent Measure X sales tax revenue, an initiative passed in 2018 to enhance public safety.

The data used reflects crimes that have been merely reported to the police and is solely based on preliminary information provided that may have not been confirmed. In order to prioritize safety, police incidents don’t pop up on the map until police officers have left the scene and the response is close. The response information is derived from the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.

According to the department, “this data is automatically updated, and it provides information on the vast majority of crime categories. In keeping with the department’s policy, confidential information is not included on the maps.”