I’m sure most of my readers are familiar by now with the extremely cool website Oakland Crimespotting, which provides attractive, user-friendly, and fast loading incident maps, offering Oakland residents a visual picture of what kind of crime is being reported in their neighborhoods.
I’m particularly grateful to Tom Carden, Eric Rodenbeck, and Michal Migurski of Stamen Design for their work in creating this, since the City of Oakland, for whatever reason, simply cannot seem to manage to produce a remotely usable incident map. CrimeWatch, in addition to being just hideously ugly, is painfully slow, requires an obscene number of steps to get any information, and in general, is just like, the complete opposite of a user-friendly or helpful product.
Ick. Anyway, Crimespotting just got a whole lot cooler, with the addition of two new features. First, you can now view crime maps going back all the way to mid-2007, when the site launched. And you can now get crime data, by beat, in spreadsheet form, going back all that time. Which is just so, so, incredibly cool. Every so often, somebody asks me about getting recent historical crime numbers for their neighborhood or whatever, and I hate how I can never give them a good answer, just offer them a giant zip file of a zillion old weekly crimes reported by beat files and tell them they can sort it out if they really, really want to. So this is just super.
But wait! That’s not all. There’s another, even cooler feature, where you can view incidents by when they happened – either in hours of your choosing, or by a few already set options: day and night, morning and evening commute, or police shift.