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New tool provides information to public on New York City crimes

Police officers in New York City and across the state will go to great lengths to prevent crimes in their jurisdictions. However, it is important that they do not overstep their boundaries and unlawfully arrest an individual.

New York City police have unveiled a tool -- Compstat 2.0 -- that would provide the public with a map indicating when, where and what types of crimes occurred over the past week. Prior to this, information on criminal activity was provided on the NYPD's website, but it only included major types of crimes. With this new system, the specific crime, as well as when and where the crime occurred, is made available to the public. The information remains available for one week. Information older than that can still be obtained from the NYPD website. This new tool is also being made available for officers' smartphones with the intention that it will assist them in performing their job duties.

While it remains to be seen how this tool will affect the number of arrests made in New York City, it is important that arrests are not unlawfully made. In general, police need probable cause to arrest an individual. This right is afforded to individuals through the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

However, what exactly constitutes probable cause is not always crystal clear. There are numerous ways for police to obtain probable cause to make an arrest. That being said, if an individual in New York City believes he or she is being harassed by police, or worse, was unlawfully arrested, he or she may want to consult with a criminal defense attorney, to determine whether probable cause existed for the arrest.

Source: 4 New York, "New Yorkers Get Access to NYPD's New Crime-Tracking Tool," Andrew Siff, Feb. 23, 2016

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