Mapping Happy Government
(not to be confused with Mappy the crime fighting(?) mouse)
I like maps. I like when governments post maps with key information that they own. I’m always happy to learn about public entities that are map happy.
Recently, I was happy to learn about the Chicago Police Department’s CLEARmap website. First of all, someone actually took the time to come up with an acronym that worked, Citizen Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting (the CLEAR), so that scores a few points with me. I suppose it’s better than Sexy Maps Are Really Terrific (SMARTmaps).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some city-folk, craving data on crimes and other incidents in my neighborhood. I’m not out to see how “dangerous” my neighborhood is. I already live here, I already walk the streets the daily and I feel perfectly safe at any hour. However, its perhaps a little different seeing them here, on a map with a semi-physical location instead of in some newspaper’s crime blotter (just where in the heck is the 4600 block of S Bishop anyway?). I say semi-physical, because for as far as I can tell police only report crimes on the block level, instead of the specific address. I’m sure there’s some privacy dealie here going on.
The first map I pulled up was the Crime Incidents Map. This is what I refer to it being a little odd seeing the physical locations. For example, I’m not suddenly going to be afraid to hang out for a bus at W North and N Ashland (upper right). On a sad note, there’s no prostitutes in my neighborhood. Speaking of crimes, I swear what I’m downloading on Bit Torrent is perfectly legal.
(All Images given smaller thumbnails to preserve the full details when you click to expand)
Next up is the crime index summary. It takes a composite of a few “index” crimes…whatever those are. Or you could click here, but essentially its the violent and property crimes. Good times. Apparently my ward isn’t the safest, but its no where in the reds. I wonder if this is a factor of the higher population density in my neighborhood (this post is already long enough to bother delving into that). Either way, below is the Ward view, but you can slice and dice by Police District, Police Beat, community area or Census tract. This actually applies to pretty much all levels of CLEARmap and SMARTmap data.
And finally, everyone’s favorite map to go out on, the sex offender map! Complete with pictures! Woo! Oh, apparently a child molester lives near me. I need an adult!
Oh, there’s also two more maps from the website. One for Block Clubs, and another for Community Concerns. But block clubs are boring, and I couldn’t find where and how the CPD collected the “community concerns” information. So there.