Police launch crime data site for Philadelphia

December 12, 2012 2:54:48 PM PST
People living in Philadelphia can now learn about crime in their neighborhood just hours after it happens.

It's all part of a new push by the city to get information to the public faster.

"For the average citizen who wants to know what's going on," said Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

To help them do just that, the city has set up phila.gov/map.

In the past, the police department made crime data available to the public, but it took up to 60 days after the crime was committed. The new map is updated within 24 hours and shows every reported crime over the past 30 days.

At a news conference on Wednesday, city officials said they saw two immediate benefits:

"Improving the trust that we have between the public and government, and also making sure that the data is available so that folks can judge for themselves how government is doing for them," said Chief Innovation Officer Abel Ebeid.

The new crime data map plots major crimes including homicides, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults and burglaries. Just click on an icon and it displays details on the specific crime including the date and time.

It also has the hundred block, but not an exact address or info, of the victim.

You can also click on a link to submit a tip to police.

However, there is one drawback: because the crime data is published so quickly, not all crimes have been verified by police.

"But some info is better than no info, and that's why we're trying to get it out as quickly as possible to the public so they can see, in their area, exactly what is going on," said Ramsey.

You can still access more complete crime data, going back to 2006, in a spreadsheet form on opendataphilly.org.

This is just the beginning, as other city departments like L&:I, are exploring new ways to make their data available online.


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