ELLICOTT CITY, MD - In its ongoing commitment to transparency and public safety, the Howard County Police Department and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball are launching two new innovative online interactive dashboards to provide the public with updated information about crime reports and traffic stops.
“It’s important to make Howard County’s crime and traffic data readily available to our communities,” said Police Chief Gregory Der. “We want residents to have easy access to information without barriers or hurdles. This new online system will help ensure users can see the police department’s most recently available information.”
The crime reports dashboard offers searchable options by types of crime, zip codes, time frames, police beats and Columbia villages. Users can easily query the crime report data most relevant or important to their areas, in various formats.
The dashboard includes crime reports beginning in 2022, when the FBI revised its mandatory Uniform Crime Reporting procedures. Due to these federal changes, the dashboard cautions users not to compare the new dashboard data to years prior to 2022 for side-by-side comparisons.
“This was an ideal time to launch this new program,” said Chief Der. “When the federal crime reporting requirements were updated, we thought it was a great opportunity to present the new data in an improved way.”
In addition to the crime data, the police department is launching a separate dashboard addressing traffic stops, beginning with 2023 data and updating regularly.
“Howard County is home to the safest city in Maryland and one of the safest cities in America because of our collective efforts to improve and expand our public safety resources,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “With this new dashboard, we are increasing our efforts to be even more data-informed, people-driven. This effort underscores the benefits of modern technology to ensure all our residents are not only safe, but feel safe.”
The traffic stop dashboard includes certain types of violations determined by the state of Maryland, called “reportable stops.” These are interactions with drivers in which factors like race, gender, searches, citations, and reason for stop can be obtained.
By Maryland law, “reportable traffic stops” do not include checkpoints or roadblocks; radar or laser stops; or the use of license plate reader technology. In these situations, the above described factors are unknown at the time of the stop.