EASTPOINTE, Mich. -

Police departments across Metro Detroit are using new tools to help alert people to crime.

Eastpointe Police is one of the latest to use Crimedar, an online mapping system that gives people details about crimes just hours after they happen.

Crimedar was developed by Pete Collins, an Eastpointe native.  He came up with the idea after his car was broken into near his Royal Oak home.

"I just got really mad because there was no way for me to find out that it was going on in my neighborhood," said Collins.

The Crimedar website shows several different types of crimes including thefts, burglary, robbery, assaults, vandalism and gun crimes.  People can look on a map to see what's happening close to their homes.

"I said, why not put a site up where I can just check at home or check it at work or check it on my phone and just kind of see what is going on around my house," said Collins. "I guarantee you if I went to the website and I started seeing that and the area around me, my car would've been locked."

Eastpointe will always be home for Collins because he grew up there and graduated from East Detroit High School.  He is thrilled Eastpointe is using crimedar.

"I really just want people to understand it's your neighborhood and the police really do want to make you their partner," said Collins.

"We need the extra eyes out there," said Eastpointe Chief Michael Lauretti.

Lauretti said Crimedar helps the department interact with residents and helps solve crimes.

"Residents are our eyes and ears. Usually, a police officer will respond to a call for service, a call for help. That's how we get our calls," said Lauretti.

At a time when police departments are forced to tighten their budgets, programs like crimedar can really help.

"We have to do more with less," said Lauretti. "It's cost effective for us. It cost pennies, you know, for us to operate versus other stuff."

Eastpointe's fire department is one of the first to use Firedar that lets people know about the types of incidents the department is responding to, not just fires.

Crimedar will be accessible on iPhones and Android phones starting in March. Troy, Fraser, Chesterfield Township and Bloomfield Township are also using Crimedar.

To find out more about how Crimedar works, click here.