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Mar. 28, 2013 10:30 am

Use this beautiful Inquirer crime map tool before it goes behind paywall

The Philadelphia Inquirer's new crime app uses the city's crime API to sort neighborhoods by both violent and property crime rates. It also offers several visualizations of crime (maps and pie charts), crime trends over the years by neighborhood and demographic data from the census.

In the last 30 days, West Mt. Airy has been the most peaceful neighborhood in the city. That is to say, its violent crime rate clocks in at zero, according to a new crime app from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Preview the app here.

The app, built by Rob Kandel, a web developer at the Inquirer’s parent company Interstate General Media, uses the city’s crime API to sort neighborhoods by both violent and property crime rate. It also offers several visualizations of crime (maps and pie charts), crime trends over the years by neighborhood and demographic data from the census.

The app uses the Inquirer’s neighborhood boundaries, which are updated every few years, Kandel said.

The tool is part of the forthcoming Inquirer.com and will go behind a paywall once that site officially launches (Kandel said this will happen soon but could not be more specific). Philly.com acts as the online destination for both The Daily News and the Inquirer, but soon, both papers will have their own websites with paywalled, subscriber-only content. Philly.com will remain free.

Kandel, who’s been with the Inquirer and Interstate General Media for almost two years, said it took him two to three weeks to build the app. Check out more of his news apps here.

This is hopefully a preview of what’s to come in terms of news apps from both the Daily News and the Inquirer, Kandel said, adding that Interstate General Media already has some upcoming projects in the works. These apps will also be behind a paywall, Kandel said.

It’s the kind of premium content that newspaper dot coms have sought to put behind pay-to-read access, but the question will be if news apps like this are seen as high quality enough to warrant bypassing the growing number of free civic crime mapping tools out there.

Since the city released its crime data and API, we’ve seen several crime apps built by hobbyist hackers, with the exception of that of nonprofit journalism outfit Axis Philly. And the old standard SpotCrime.com, among others, continue to try to find new offerings.

Kandel first demoed the news app at a BarCamp NewsInnovation hackathon planning session last week.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technical.ly Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called β€œIt’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

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