When Chief G. Joseph Wise started as a part-time dispatcher with the Grove City Division of Police in 1976, the inner workings of the department were considered deep, dark secrets.

When Chief G. Joseph Wise started as a part-time dispatcher with the Grove City Division of Police in 1976, the inner workings of the department were considered deep, dark secrets.

Times change.

Wise, after becoming a police officer in Whitehall before rejoining the Grove City department in 1984, has risen to the rank of chief.

And the division's page on the Grove City Web site contains a link that permits Internet users to see what crimes have been reported where within the community, from car break-ins to assaults, armed robberies to shoplifting.

"We're trying to be as transparent about our operations as we can be," Capt. Steven R. Robinette said.

"I think the citizens should know what we're dealing with," Wise said.

It's also the kind of information people considering relocating to Grove City always want to know, the chief added.

Those visiting the city's Web site and going to the division's page may click on a link for CrimeMapping.com to view a map that shows which crimes have been reported in the past 30 days, complete with symbols based on the nature of the complaint. Users can employ different settings, viewing only certain types of crimes or incidents reported within various distances of a specific address.

The mapping program is a product offered by a vendor the division uses for a more detailed crime analysis program, according to Robinette. What the public gets to see with CrimeMapping.com is not as "robust" as the picture division personnel have access to with CrimeView.

"It gives us the ability to track what's going on in the city at a glance," the chief said.

"CrimeMapping.com has been developed by the Omega Group to help law enforcement agencies throughout North America provide the public with valuable information about recent crime activity by neighborhood," according to the Web site of the San Diego-based geographic information systems software developer. "Our goal is to assist police departments in reducing crime through a better informed citizenry."

The publicly available mapping program, which has some generic details such as block numbers instead of specific addresses to protect privacy, is all part of an effort by the division to make greater use of the Web site, Robinette indicated.

"We want to start putting this out to people," he said. "We recognize we live in an Internet world."

Coming soon on the division's site will be a list of people with active warrants against them and links to Homeland Security, crime victim databases and others, according to Robinette. Traffic surveys and even forms to request such surveys are also available online, as is the 2008 community survey of 750 randomly selected crime victims, citizens and even people who have been arrested.

CrimeMapping.com costs the division $250 a month, the captain said. That's fairly minimal, Robinette said, and represents a price break because of the other Omega Group applications being used.

Grove City's Web site is http://www.grovecityohio.gov/. From there, click on "City Departments" and select police. Crime Mapping is among the links offered on the lower left side of the page.