Mapping crime

14 Jun

Inquirer crime mapper tool screenshot

I’ve hesitated to post this, because I’m not totally sure I endorse the frame it imposes.

But here it is: The Philadelphia Inquirer website now has a crime mapping tool, which is slightly less useful than it sounds.

Basically, you can look at the rate of crime by neighborhood, calculated as a rate of X crimes per 1,000 residents. (They break out the property crime rate and the violent crime rate separately.)

I’m not sure how they are defining neighborhood boundaries, although I suspect it might be by police district.  Regardless, it’s a somewhat weird — some “neighborhoods” have 10,000 people and others have close to 60,000. That’s a big range.

You can search by address, sort of. If you type in an address it will take you to the crime data for that neighborhood, with a list of specific incidents by block number (e.g., “Robbery — 3900 block of Chestnut St.”)

An important caveat: The tool includes only data from the last 30 days. So seasonal variation or passing trends could really mess with the numbers.

I haven’t quite figured out how this tool connects to a better Philadelphia. Would like to hear your thoughts in comments.

Note: I suspect this will go behind a paywall soon, but will leave this post up regardless.

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