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A note about map symbols

The names used here are based on Oakland’s categorization of its crime statistics on the CrimeWatch website. We have additionally grouped them into violent crimes (red), property crimes (green), and “quality of life” crimes (blue).

Notice anything different?
We’ve been working on the interface design, read more about it on the blog.

Oakland Crimespotting is an interactive map of crimes in Oakland and a tool for understanding crime in cities.

If you hear sirens in your neighborhood, you should know why. Crimespotting makes this possible with interactive maps, e-mail updates, and RSS feeds of crimes in areas that you care about.

We’ve found ourselves frustrated by the proprietary systems and long disclaimers that ultimately limit information available to the public. As citizens we have a right to public information. A clear understanding of our environment is essential to an informed citizenry.

Instead of simply knowing where a crime took place, we would like to investigate questions like: Is there more crime this week than last week? More this month than last? Do robberies tend to happen close to murders? We’re interested in everything from complex questions of patterns and trends, to the most local of concerns on a block-by-block basis.

If the local papers didn’t report a rash of car break-ins in your neighborhood, how would you know? The web opens up opportunities to find information without having to rely on which stories make it to the front page of the newspaper, or the lead story on the evening news. We need to be able to explore public information, to draw connections, and to see new possibilities for questioning. Crimespotting enables us to do more than search for the things we already know.

We believe that civic data should be exposed to the public in a more open way. With these maps, we hope to inspire local governments to use this data visualization model for the public release of many different kinds of data: tree plantings, new schools, applications for liquor licenses, and any other information that matters to people who live in neighborhoods.

This project is a work in progress; a way of discovering what kinds of questions we can ask. We hope that it will open up a space for even more questions, and provide some answers. We invite the public to use this data to become better informed about what’s happening in their communities and to draw new conclusions of their own.

Oakland Crimespotting was designed and built by Stamen Design's Michal Migurski, Tom Carden, and Eric Rodenbeck.