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How safe is your neighborhood? CrimeReports can tell you

CrimeReports is a free universal app for iOS that collects crime reports from your local police and sex offender locations from a federal data base, and then superimposes that information on a map. If your local police agency is participating, you can also get email alerts about local crime.

The app determines your location via GPS, and you can look elsewhere using any address in your contacts list. You can also just type in any address or location. Crime reports can be viewed from the last couple of days, or a more extended period. If you don't like the presets, you can type in your own range of dates.

Crime reports can appear on a map, or in a list. National sex offender data also appears alongside your local crime reports.

I found the app worked fine when testing it against several cities around the country. You have to zoom into neighborhoods before most of the data appears. When you click on an icon, you get the date of the crime, the location, and the address. In some areas, I only saw sex offender locations. This is because not all police departments submit crime data promptly or at all. The app has a request form to let your local police know you want to see this information. Usually, the sex offender info has a mug shot, and a specific address. I was a bit surprised how many people appeared in every area I checked.

CrimeReports is a handy, but sobering app, especially if you think you may live in a crime free area. You may find there is more going on in your neighborhood than you think. If you aren't seeing much information, it may be that your local police aren't sharing that data.

Other apps with similar features include CrimeMapping.com and Crime Watcher. Both apps are free. Crime Watcher seemed pretty buggy and had less information that CrimeReports.

CrimeReports requires iOS 3 or later, so it will run on a wide range of hardware.

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