Some nice things people are saying about Oakland Crimespotting...


Anneli Rufus, East Bay Express:

Updated daily, stunning but scary, a brand-new interactive map at lets you view crimes by locale and type. Its three creators at San Francisco’s Stamen Design built and run it for free. Michal Migurski lives near Lake Merritt, where, he says, “last winter there was a palpable sense of rising crime.” It struck him that “if you hear sirens in your neighborhood, you should know why.” Migurski, Eric Rodenbeck, and Tom Carden investigated the sparse local crime-search resources. “Their overall message,” Rodenbeck says, “is: Go away.” Just in time for a homicide spike, the map launched this month as a public service, Rodenbeck says. It offers “live information that you can look at it ways that are simple and meaningful to you. It gives the community a picture of itself, so that you can start your own conversations” about crime. (Speed Kills, August 29 2007)

Brady Forrest, O’Reilly Radar:

Stamen built this project for several reasons. One was to give Modest Maps another showcase application. Another was to free public data and make it more usable. ... It’s amazingly frustrating that data procured with public funds is not more readily available. It is hidden behind archaic TOS, proprietary formats, and poorly designed sites. It’s a problem all over the world. Start-ups like Swivel and FortiusOne are built around making public data more accessible, but sometimes it’s good to see people take it into their own hands. (Stamen Releases Oakland Crimespotting, August 16 2007)

David Pescovitz, BoingBoing:

Stamen Design, the incredibly innovative design firm/research lab behind such wonderful data visualizations as and Graffiti Archaeology, have launched Oakland Crimespotting, an interactive map of crimes in that city. Once a day, the system scrapes crime reports from the Oakland Police Department’s Crimewatch site. The information about specific aggravated assaults, murders, acts of arson, vandalism, narcotics, prostitution, and a host of other crimes are then mapped onto Microsoft Virtual Earth. (Stamen Design’s Oakland Crimespotting, September 10 2007)

Nicole Lee, Webware:

Oakland Crimespotting is an amazing interactive map that provides comprehensive information about the latest crimes in the Oakland area. The presentation is fluid and seamless -- you can use the sliders to adjust the time span, zoom out to see a larger area, and select the crimes you want to see. You can even click on each crime to find out more information about it, like the date and time it was committed as well as the actual case number. There’s also a way for you to set up crime alerts to be delivered to you via RSS or email. ... This is a perfect example of using Web 2.0 technologies for public service, and I only wish there were more of these. (Oakland Crimespotting: Crime Watch For The Rest Of Us, August 16 2007)

Community Feedback

“Your site is groundbreaking, and is an amazing resource for people who live in Oakland.”
—Camron, Oakland

“This isn’t about the market performing better than government, because this isn’t for profit. It’s about smart people applying technology in smart ways.”

“Thanks for a wonderful resource. Facts help many things. Including dealing with media hysteria. I like being able to pick the crimes I want and the time period and get details. Nice job, gentlemen!”

“The site you put together is super-fantastic.....I have been thinking about the need for this ever since I have played with Google Maps. Nice work”

“In our neighborhood police beat 28X, PSA 5, we have a crime NAT that tries to get all crime info that is generated in the area because OPD is so proprietary and inconsistent about providing that information on a monthly basis. We all realize that OPD and their service is so short on people power, but we need to know where things are bad or getting worse. It’s helpful to know as our home owners’ insurance policies go up.”
—Patricia, Oakland

“I must congratulate on simplifying the data presentation, and getting it done for Oakland.”
—Ahsan, Oakland

“What a great service to the Oakland area!”

“Just simply awesome work. Live in Oakland by Jack London Square, mostly keep an eye on that area (with your RSS feed too). Very impressed.”

“This group takes the info from the police department’s dysfunctional “CrimeWatch” crime database and uses it to create a very impressive interactive map of crime for Oakland. It looks like they have only input info for July, but that alone is startling. Most importantly, this week’s crime report and the Crime Spotting site clearly show that our neighborhood has been free of the the two types of crimes that have been the most troubling for us: robberies and burglaries. Our neighborhood dramatically stands out from the surround areas. Armed robberies and burglaries are still happening regularly in other nice neighborhoods around the lake and elsewhere. We are showing as good of crime rate as such areas as Glenview and even Rockridge. Maybe we are just getting lucky, but I think this is a very hopeful sign that everyone’s vigilance is really, really working. Word gets out with the criminals that you can’t just stroll into our neighborhood and not expect to be noticed.”

“Thanks for building this system, it is so superior to Crime view and the rest of the off the shelf software applications.”
—Laura, Berkeley