Crime Maps - How safe is my neighborhood?

Reset Rating: B+ (12 out of 15)

Link: http://www.sf-police.org/index.aspx?page=1618

Moving to a new apartment in another San Francisco neighborhood? Wondering why your apartment is so cheap despite the wood floors and new, attractive Kohler faucets?

CrimeMAPs, generated by The Omega Group, in collaboration with the San Francisco Police Department, is based on official police reports and provides, mostly, current information on, some, crimes in localities.

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Accessibility: 1 out of 3

This visual service is not available offline (and online, you need a high-speed connection), though you can go to a public library and use computers there to access it. You can also contact your local station for information regarding crime rates in your area or attend public meetings held by each District Captain where public safety reports are covered.

The information published on the maps reflects crimes committed and reported in the past 90 days. For data going further back, you can contact your local station.

The crimes noted are also only for initial incidents. If an incident report (police incident reports are the sources for the information on these maps) is for an evolving case, the initial reported crime is what is reflected on the map (if an act of arson is committed, and only later bodies are found, the Crime Map will not reflect the acts of homicide).

An incident reported will be only represented on the maps if there is a clear address or location affiliated with it (“somewhere on the Muni” does not make the cut).

... Makes you wonder if these maps make our city look safer than it really is ...

Ease of Use: 3 out of 3

For something that is reasonably technically complicated, it is pretty easy to use and navigate.

Design: 3 of 3

The pages that exist within the SFPD site are consistent in formatting and the CrimeMAPs webpage is also pretty clear with a meaningful top navigation bar that expands and collapses as you click on different options.

The Guide: 3 out of 3

An obvious “Help” link is available at the top of the CrimeMAPs page, which offers everything from legend clarification to printing instructions. You can also call your local station to ask any questions you may have.

User Feedback: 2 out of 3

The Omega Group, which hosts the maps, offers a “Contact Us” link at the top of their page which users can use to receive assistance, report problems, or suggest improvements.

Aside from calling your local station, the SFPD does not host a formal feedback mechanism for this service.

Finding it...

From the SFPD home page, choose the button in the bottom left-hand corner, “CompStat & Crime Map.” Then from the CompStat page, select “Crime Maps” from the links just below the “SFPD CompStat” header. Then read through the lengthy list of instructions and explanations, click “I accept,” and you’re there.

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sfosparky's picture

Use Crime Maps to monitor bicycle thefts?

As a bicyclist I think the SFPD's Crime Maps would be more useful if they enabled one to view instances of stolen bicycles.  At present, I've only been able to select the general category of Thefts, not a specific category of theft.
Presumably the SFPD makes some sort of note that a given theft report involved a bike.  Ideally that information could be used by bicyclists to identify where bike thefts are most likely to occur, and from where a given bike was stolen (private garage, public garage, bike rack, porch, and so on).

Nick Vojdani's picture

Everyone wants to know, how

Everyone wants to know, how safe is my neighborhood? And in San Francisco it seems that the answer is, we are not really sure. Information is only as good as what we do with it.

Victoria Holliday's picture

Crime Maps are only useful if they are accessible

This is incredibly important information, but it serves no use if it is not updated and accessible. 

Eric Jaye's picture

Another interesting view

Reset had an interesting take on using data in the safety sphere:
http://www.resetsanfrancisco.org/news/jun-6-11/can-government-20-use-social-media-predict-social-problems
 

Kate Maeder's picture

Gangs and Cupcakes in the Mission

A few months ago, Mission Loc@l mapped out cupcakes (and bakeries) in the neighborhood's gang territory.
Check it out: http://missionlocal.org/2011/03/gangs-and-cupcakes
I even heard that there's a taqueria in the Mission that is so good that gangs will cross territory lines just to grab its tacos... Still trying to figure out where that is.

Alyssa Sittig's picture

1 /3 in Accessibility?

It seems ridiculous to me that CrimeMAPS is so inaccessible! I can see the potential in this technology -- I would check it every time I head out for the gym late at night or before I decide whether to take an early morning jog - but if it's too hard to access and requires internet, I just won't remember to use it. And what about San Franciscans without internet access? They shouldn't be excluded from information - it needs to accessible for all. 

Bernadette's picture

CrimeMAPs Site Gives a Stark Look on Public Safety

It really troubles me that the CrimeMAPs site does not update details about "evolving" crimes, especially given the arson -> homicide example. I understand that it probably has a lot to do with the amount of man power (or lack thereof) available to the SFPD. However, I believe that it is extremely important to give people an accurate and up-to-date view of their city, so that they can make well-educated decisions about where they choose to move to, go out at night, send their kids to school, etc.
With that said, CrimeMAPs is good, but it can definitely be improved!

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137