Software Development
Crime / Technology

This dev wants to know if his interactive crime map of Wilmington is helpful

It shows pedestrians the locations and times of shootings and homicides.

Walking down Market Street at 8 p.m. appears to be just fine, according to Ben Trigg's map. (Screenshot)
D.C.-based web developer Ben Trigg wants your opinion.

He’s developed an interactive map of Wilmington that uses crime data to show streets a pedestrian might want to avoid at certain times.
Here’s how it all started: A few years ago, he worked on a Philadelphia hackathon team that was developing a program that would show kids the safest walking route home from school. All they had to do was plug in their start- and end-points along with the time of day they’d be walking.
The program would show an interactive map of where crimes had occurred along that route at that time of day and present an alternate (perhaps safer) route.
Trigg recently revisited that idea after he saw a tweet from actress Aubrey Plaza, a Wilmington native. She was talking about that proposed ABC show title that ground every Wilmingtonian’s gears, “Murder Town.”
For all the uproar that title caused, it did get Trigg thinking about safer walking routes in Wilmington.
As the city doesn’t make its crime data public, he mined the News Journal’s Data Delaware Center.
Taking crime stats on shootings and homicides since 2011, he put together an ArcGIS database that works similarly to the Philly model, although alternate routes don’t appear on the screen.
This was a side project for Trigg, and now he wonders if it’s something worth developing further. “For me, it’s purely a question of if people are interested in using it,” he said.
He said the model’s not perfect — that, for example, walking an alternate way might not be any safer than the original route.
Before putting it together, he wondered if there would be any good options for walking at all, given the “Murder Town” rep. Trigg ended up surprised. “I didn’t see a crazy amount of crime, which is what I thought I’d see,” he said.
Trigg did find some interesting trends about the times crime occurs in Wilmington, though. There have been hardly any, if at all, shootings that happened at noon since 2011, and the hours between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. are fairly safe. The deadliest hours are between 9 and 11 p.m., he said.
Trigg would consider making the concept an app if there’s interest. “The next step might be to try to show your location on screen so you can … follow it as you walk,” he said.
Think a safety walking app is something Wilmington could use? Or a divisive exercise altogether? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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