River Forest, a town currently without an administrator or a permanent police chief, gets credit for beating Oak Park in the race to transparent, effective online crime reporting. For several months already, River Forest police have been posting near real-time reports of major crimes to a mapping website.

A sergeant in the River Forest department touts two benefits. The public can see exactly what is going in their village. Sometimes that is good news, sometimes it isn’t. But it is a fact-based, reality-based shared starting point for the community to work from on the always worrisome issue of crime. Second, with Forest Park, Elmwood Park, and, reportedly, Oak Park planning to add their data, crime trends and patterns among these suburbs will, for the first time be shared more than anecdotally.

This is the future. Let’s get to it.

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