A website that will catalog criminal activity in German Village and Schumacher Place goes live April 1.

A website that will catalog criminal activity in German Village and Schumacher Place goes live April 1.

The Cyber Block Watch - www.cyberblockwatch.com - relies on residents to submit information on a variety of offenses, including auto theft, burglaries and robberies. It also asks for updates on suspicious activity.

A four-member committee screens all submissions and decides what gets posted, said Jeffery Smith, a founding member of the site.

"Everything will be managed and audited," he said.

Updated information then will be sent via email to subscribers.

People must register their names and emails and posts are completely anonymous to the viewing public, he said. There is no cost for the service.

Smith said the committee would make a formal presentation at the next German Village police luncheon, to be held at 12:30 p.m. March 31 at the Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St.

Cyber Block Watch was launched to create a central clearinghouse for crime data, as criminals often cross neighborhood boundaries. Meanwhile, leaders in those individual communities already have mass emails, which will continue, Smith said. However, all crime reporting will be done via the block watch, Smith said.

The website also includes links to the Columbus Division of Police and other law-enforcement sites, as well as tips on safety.

Smith said the committee is still formulating exactly what can make it on the website, such as civilian pictures of suspects and video. Subscribers can expect it to evolve.

"There's a lot of potential on how it expands," he said.

Alyson Gledhill, a Schumacher Place resident and former member of the neighborhood civic association, said she's optimistic about the launch of the website, which she said is easy to navigate and provides a lot of helpful information.

"I think it will be a nice tool for our residents and even beyond, because not only are we having the safety alerts, there will be safety hints on how to protect yourself and family," Gledhill said.

At this stage, the website applies only to Schumacher Place and German Village. Merion Village was asked to assist but no one from the community came forward to join the effort, Smith said.

Bob Leighty, chairman of the Merion Village Association, said the group would continue to pursue its own crime-reporting activities under the leadership of the safety committee.

"That has worked for us and those efforts will continue," he said. "It is great for our neighbors to work together on crime prevention. We certainly wish them success."

The website does not include a public-comment portion, so people do not have the opportunity to chat about their circumstances on the site, Smith.

Still, he hopes people take advantage of the Cyber Block Watch.

"I'd love to have every resident in the neighborhood be part of it," he said.

Amanda Ford, spokeswoman for the Columbus Division of Police, said safety forces welcome neighborhood involvement.

"This is a great resource for community members and police officers," she said. "Using the Internet and social media sites has proved beneficial in engaging residents to share information and be proactive in addressing criminal activity in their neighborhood.

"The site is also a great tool for officers to gather information on suspicious activity, possible suspect information and understanding the needs of a neighborhood."