Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Crimemapping.com update

A few weeks ago, I announced the availability of a new public crime mapping application, crimemapping.com. It is an alternative to CrimeView Community, and both are linked near the center of our public home page. While they both use the same data, the interface is somewhat different. Crimemapping.com employs the Google Maps API, whereas CrimeView Community uses our own more precise and complete geographic layers from the City-County GIS enterprise. They are both nice applications, and I thought we'd make both flavors available for now.

Recently, the Omega Group, which produces both of these applications, tweaked crimemapping.com a little bit, primarily by including the short summary "comments" field that so many readers of The Chief's Corner seem to appreciate.

I expect we'll continue to see some evolutionary changes, and I also notice that several additional agencies' data have been added.

Every now and then some controversy flairs up on the crimemap listserv about making information like this available to the public. Some cities are reluctant to do so, fearful that citizens will be unnecessarily alarmed, real estate prices will be negatively impacted, and so forth. I don't buy that. I do not think we should shield the public from the truth, even if the level of activity in their community might be a little surprising to some folks. I think citizens are thoughtful enough to make reasonable interpretations of "what it all means," and we are always willing to help anyone understand the context.

At the Lincoln police department, we have made interactive crime mapping applications available since 1998. These data are public record, and the mapping applications simply make the information somewhat more accessible. I think it is always a good thing when citizens are more informed about what's going on in their own city.

One of the cool features in crimemapping.com is the ability to sign up for notification. You can basically subscribe to an address of your choice in any of the participating communities, and a push email will be sent to you when a new offense has occurred within a user-specified radius of that address. Now that could really keep you informed about what's happening in the neighborhood. I'd be careful about the distance though, by keeping it small--there is a whole lot of stuff that goes on in Lincoln, and I wouldn't want to overwhelm your inbox!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

HELD BROOM IN THREATENING MANNER

That's interesting...

Anonymous said...

Is this the PR?

Mary said...

In my area, someone placed a cheeseburger/sandwiches in a purse.

God bless Lincoln.

Anonymous said...

I saw a broom used as an expedient short staff in a demonstration of using what's at hand as defensive weaponry. Jab in the gut or knee, bristles shoved into the eyes, etc. Think of a kubotan and how small & benign one looks - until you see one used by a skilled operator.

Some city governments don't like disclosing crime stats and locations, because they know that they aren't doing their jobs! I've met new residents of Lincoln who used CrimeView Community to help narrow down where they'd live and where they wouldn't. They narrowed it down further to fit their budget, and they're happy in Colonial Hills, pretty much free of large apartment complexes and big multiplexes in their immediate area (one thing to avoid at all costs, if you are able, is dense now-owner populations).

Add in Hy-Vee, a multi-screen theater, and a decent public golf course nearby, and they're all smiles. It's not perfect, to be sure, since some owners occasionally rent out their houses (to dope farmers, for example) in violation of area covenants and restrictions, but you're always going to have people that don't think rules apply to them.

Anonymous said...

Tom,

I continue to be impressed with your knowledge of technology. I've been reading your blog for a little more than a month now and the amount of respect I have for LPD has skyrocketed. This blog is a great tool to keep Lincoln citizens in touch with your department. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Slight correction to my anon 10:58. Strike "now-owners", insert "non-owners".

RINGO said...

At least one murder in Lincoln with a guitar and a vacuum cleaner, so a broom handle has the potential to seriously injure or kill as well.

Remember... brooms don't kill people, people kill people!

Anonymous said...

After looking at many houses about town, I bought my first house a couple of years ago. This was all before I started reading the daily call logs. I feel REALLY lucky I ended up here because there is a lot of sketchiness going on in the neighborhoods where I saw other houses I thought I liked. :)

Anonymous said...

This story is great. But this is better as a member of LPD is running for president!

http://www.thelopezfamilyonline.com:80/play.php?first=Don&last=Scheinost

Nikki said...

I am lovin' the changes! And email notification by address? Flippin' sweet!

Sidenote: I think one of the reasons I'm so hooked on this blog is that you're always giving kudos when they're deserved - to officers, to judges, to new technology, etc. Without reading it here, I'd have no idea about the good jobs people in my city are doing. Even when the chosen topic is a criticism, it's nearly always constructive - never whiny.

Thanks for the communication - it is appreciated.