Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lehigh Valley Crime Map

Hi everyone,

The Morning Call has a relatively new feature that I wanted to share. It is their Lehigh Valley Crime Map. The map lists where crimes were reported and also has a link to a Morning Call story on that crime, if applicable.

This is one of the many ways that technology can be used to keep local residents better informed of the happenings in their local municipality. In the long-run, wouldn't it be great if local governments could utilize their intern websites to have more than just contact information? Things like forms, a calendar of events, information about criminal activity, garbage pick-up, ability to pay taxes online, etc.

Governments in the 21st century have to stop limiting themselves to 20th century methods of government. A great example of this is Macungie's website. The website contains a large variety of information, including permits & zoning forms, a business directory, calendar of events and information on parks and recreation, among other things. It even has a link to their comprehensive plan!

The internet has proven massively effective in increasing democracy by opening up government and making it more accessible to the masses. I would love to see more governments have website's like Macungie's. I am also very curious to see how governments can take advantage of social networking in the future.


Glenn said...

I agree completely. There's so much you can do with websites nowadays and so much information you can share. I was working on going through and getting the contact information for Emergency Management for each borough/township/etc within a 20 mile radius for my search and rescue organization and I was amazed at how excellent some websites were and others didn't have anything except for phone numbers listed on the Bucks County website.

Borough Business Revitalization Program said...

EXACTLY. It is very interesting to me how there is such a wide disparity between local websites. Some are really outstanding - others are non-existant.

Glenn said...

Indeed. Hellertown's website (where I reside) is absolutely horrendous. It's uninformative and quite frankly gives me a headache looking at it. I believe last year someone brought this up and the council said it would be looked at, however I'm sure it hasn't been. I wish I could attend more of the council meetings and be more active in that setting however they hold the meetings on the same nights as the fire department holds their weekly practices and I'm dedicated to that program.

Here's some examples of the great Bucks County websites I was mentioning earlier. They're all informative and extremely well designed:

Now compare those to this: