SpotCrime is a comprehensive crime information website featuring local maps, crime reports, classifications, and real-time interactive maps. Baltimore-based SpotCrime is a mashup that tracks crimes ranging from vandalism to sho
otings in most major cities across the U.S. on Google maps. Only a few months old, the site welcomes law enforcement agencies and the general public to view crimes in their area depicted with small symbols on a map. Users can filter by crime type, date range, and even the time of day the crimes occurred.
Information regarding the crimes is brief, but registered users can add comments to supplement the details.
What’s more, registered users also receive alerts via phone or e-mail that a crime has been committed within three miles of their address. Because it can take up to 24 hours for an incident to show up in the system, SpotCrime is better used for tracking criminal activity than for avoiding crimes in progress.
SpotCrime map of San Francisco, CA
Most of the data on SpotCrime is generated from police reports or local news sources if the former isn’t available. Accruing the data requires a lot of scraping, and the current operation could change as the company grows.
The SpotCrime service ultimately provides public value by steering visitors to new cities away from crime-ridden neighborhoods, allowing police to spot crime trends in neighborhoods, and enhancing real estate assessments.
The website, however, isn’t the first of its kind. As Tech Crunch reports, “you can find similar offerings at The LA Times Homicide Map , UniversalHub, and a number of others. But most of these sites are regional, and SpotCrime is intent on cataloging cities across the country.”
By Kathleen Clark
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