Here’s an application where mapping proves useful: local crime-focused community organizer Cham Green used MapBox to overlay this year’s homicides so far on top of the location of Baltimore city’s more than 16,000 vacant properties.
The map adds some geographical context to June’s spike in homicides. What you see is that many of the locations of Baltimore city homicides are near the denser clusters of vacant properties.
Green markers represent homicides. Red markers represent vacant properties.
Of course, it’s easy to question causality — whether the poverty that often leads to vacancies is the real cause of the collection of murders or whether it’s more the kind of social problems that can cluster around places where no one is looking. So while you can question the root, it’s clear the city’s vacancy property isn’t helping its murder epidemic.