DC has a new tool to search and map crime data - Technical.ly DC

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Mar. 12, 2018 8:23 am

DC has a new tool to search and map crime data

It's called Crime Cards. The Office of the Chief Technology Officer and Metropolitan Police Department used Mapbox to build it.

Search D.C. Crime Cards with a sentence.

(Screenshot via D.C. government)

The District’s crime map got a refresh.

On Friday, D.C. government rolled out Crime Cards. It’s an update to the District’s decade-old crime mapping tool, providing capabilities to search for specific kinds of crimes and visualizations of crime “hotspots,” among other data.

At a news conference, Mayor Muriel Bowser demoed the new tool with leaders from the Metropolitan Police Department, Office of the Chief Technology Officer and D.C.–based Mapbox who worked on the effort. Chief of Police Peter Newsham said the modernization came as a result of input from police and government officials, as well as feedback during a hackathon last year.

“Collectively we saw that this design was an opportunity to focus on the transparency and usability of this application,” Newsham said.

Officials said the new version of the tool is designed to be mobile-friendly, which wasn’t true of the prior iteration. It also has a format that makes it easier to look at multiple visualizations at once, and was built using open source technology.

Search Crime Cards

Multiple categories of data can also be queried at once using a single sentence. One example uses the sentence, “I want to explore all crimes over the past two years citywide on a heat map.” The terms “all,” “crimes, “two years,” “citywide” and “heat map” each generate different maps based on types of crimes, date, location and type of map (neighborhood, ward, etc.). On a mobile device, users can specify a distance from their location.

“You can make 174,000 different queries in one English sentence,” said Barney Krucoff, the District’s interim CTO. Searchable data goes back to 2009 and is updated daily.

Within OCTO, Krucoff said Julie Kanzler was lead developer handling design and coding along with a team within the office.

The platform is built using software created by Mapbox, which recently moved to a new office. According to Mapbox Head of Community Mikel Maron, the team at OCTO took advantage of new features being introduced by the company.

“Mapbox is very proud to be powering this new app and helping build a safer and stronger DC – where Mapbox was founded and where we will be continuing to grow our presence,” said COO and President Roy Ng.

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