Crime Reports – Crime Mapping Resource for Crime Data

If you’re interested in a cool resource that can help you track down recent crime statistics for a particular geographic area, you should check out Crime Reports. I was working on a Criminology Resource Guide (which I will post soon when finished!) when I came across this website on a library’s criminology page.

The website is billed as the “largest and most comprehensive crime-mapping network in the world,” and features data for the United States, Canada as well as a separate site for the United Kingdom. Although Crime Reports would be very useful for citizens concerned about crime in their own cities, the data could also be used for various criminology research projects.

The Crime Reports Website for Crime Data

Using the website is a breeze and it has a very intuitive, simple interface, although its capabilities are quite significant. The homepage of Crime Reports is large Google map with crimes on top. You can type in an address or geographical location (ie. city) to specify your search. For the recent crime data, you will find labeled icons on the map, for robberies, thefts, assaults and other crimes. Click on any one to see the date, location, time and a brief description. The website receives this crime data from local law enforcement agencies, which are listed on the top of the screen. (Over 700 are participating in the project, representing all 50 US states.) There are also icons on the maps which bring up identifying information for registered sex offenders. For those who want access on the go or quick updates, there are alert services as well as a free iPhone app.

While the recent crime map features might appeal most to local residents interested in protecting the safety of their family and friends, there are broader applications of this website as well. For example, there are numerous ways to analyze the data that is being displayed on the maps.

Users can set parameters for various map tools. First, they can set a date range, either in the last few days or several months’ time, and also choose incident layers. The report can be limited to particular types of crimes, or all can be included. Finally, under the map layers setting you can view either neighborhood layers or law enforcement areas.

If you are doing criminology research relating to recent crimes in a particular area, the Crime Reports website could prove very helpful. Its mapping capabilities could lead to many new areas of investigation and research possibilities. Hopefully as the service continues to grow and partner with more law enforcement agencies, the practical applications will only increase.

 

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