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Google Map Hack & Chicago Crime Data 391

joepez writes "In recent weeks we've seen some great Google Maps hacks (HousingMaps, Google's own Ride Finder, etc.), but this weekend Adrian has brought us something truly innovative. He's merged Google map data with Chicago crime data to present a once a day updated crime map of the entire city, including some really nice summarized data. Adrian calls the project Chicagocrime.org. How long till we have real time crime data showing up on Google's map? Pull open HousingMaps next to Chicagocrime.org and figure out if that low rent apartment is truly worth it. Or is this all a clever trick on Google's part to build up more and more third parties dependent upon Google?" There's also a cheap gas hack as well.
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Google Map Hack & Chicago Crime Data

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  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Funny)

    by /ASCII ( 86998 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:08AM (#12612754) Homepage
    Not a single comment, and the site is already crawling. I guess some people actually read the articles!
    • Re:Slashdotted (Score:2, Interesting)

      by iocat ( 572367 )
      This is neat, but not actually innovative. Most larger cities have realtime or near realtime updated maps that show local crimes, sortable in all sorts of neat ways. Oakland's [oaklandnet.com] is one that is pretty nice. Done with autocad I think.
    • Re:Slashdotted (Score:3, Informative)

      by holovaty ( 678950 )
      I'd been dreading the possibility that the site would get Slashdotted. Sorry 'bout the slowness, folks.

      Although almost every single page of the site is cached, it's still fundamentally performance-intensive because there's a ton of data and it's very "sticky" content that's addictive to browse. The bottleneck is now at the cache level. Unfortunately I can't do anything about it now, because I'm at work.

      Thanks for the attention.
    • "Sorry, slashdot users aren't allowed. You've been too naughty."

      Too funny.
  • Prostitution (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hieronymus Howard ( 215725 ) * on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:08AM (#12612760)
    If you select 'prostitution' you can check out the best areas to go to pick up a hooker. Not that this is of any use to me as I'm a) not single and b) not in the US.
  • Why not both (Score:5, Interesting)

    by millahtime ( 710421 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:08AM (#12612761) Homepage Journal
    Pull open HousingMaps next to Chicagocrime.org and figure out if that low rent apartment is truly worth it. Or is this all a clever trick on Google's part to build up more and more third parties dependent upon Google?

    Why can't it be both. And if there is a way to keep it free the better for me.
  • by killproc ( 518431 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:09AM (#12612765)

    A better implementation for this would be to link to each individual State's sex offender's registry. This data is readily provided and is in the public domain.
    • by Capt James McCarthy ( 860294 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:35AM (#12613086) Journal
      Great. You want to punish someone forever from one mistake. Way to have a system of justice dude.

      Besides that, you probably don't want to know who really lives beside you.


      • Having knowledge as to the whereabouts of known sexual predators in your area is not "punishing" THEM.
        Being the father of two small children, I definitely am interested in the number of sexual predators in my area.
        Having perused my state's Offender's registry, I was surprised by the number of repeat offenders that are still loose on the streets.
        Knowing the areas that had a high concentration of rapists definitely played a part in my house hunting decisions.
        • by rpresser ( 610529 ) <rpresser@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday May 23, 2005 @12:01PM (#12613471) Homepage
          The problem is that the sexual offender registry lists people who are NOT "known sexual predators". These people, who made a mistake -- for instance, a 19 year old whose 15-year-old girlfriend's dad is a raging lunatic -- are now forever branded as sexual predators, EVEN THOUGH THEY DID THEIR TIME ALREADY.

          Yes, there are child rapists on the list too. But can you tell them apart just from the list? Are you going to bother to try? I doubt it.
          • by zerbot ( 882848 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @12:10PM (#12613619)
            In our state, offenders are coded, and level 1 offenders like your 19 year old with a 15 year old girlfriend don't even show up. Some people think I am paranoid and overprotective about my children, I look at the map of level 2 and 3 sex offenders near my house and feel quite justified in that.

            Exact addresses are not given, just stuff like "1900 block of 25th Avenue".
            • Here (in N.C.) we can get, online, complete addresses along with full color photos. I find that a little creepy, personally.

              If they're that big a threat, I think residence in jail and/or a psych facility is preferable. It just baffles me that people can get so worked up about sex offender registration, but wouldn't dream of raising taxes a little bit to pay for greatly increasing the duration of incarceration.
        • Having knowledge as to the whereabouts of known sexual predators in your area is not "punishing" THEM.
          Being the father of two small children, I definitely am interested in the number of sexual predators in my area.
          Having perused my state's Offender's registry, I was surprised by the number of repeat offenders that are still loose on the streets.
          Knowing the areas that had a high concentration of rapists definitely played a part in my house hunting decisions


          The idea is all well and good. The problem is tha
        • Not to sound like a "me too" but the idea occurred to me several days ago, I'm already working on it. (Ever since the wired story a couple weeks ago)

          With Virginia's registry, it includes home and work addresses, so we'd be able to plot their likely route to work on the map too. Maybe they drive by your kids' school. (I hope not)

          Once I figure out how to do all this myself, there are about a dozen maps projects I'd love to do. Most less serious than this one though...
      • Just under 20% of sex offenders will commit another sex related offense. With approximately 700 000 offenses in the US each year alone the numbers of people released each year who are likely to re-offend is quite high.

        http://www.selfhelpmagazine.com/articles/trauma/of fender.html [selfhelpmagazine.com]
        http://www.enotes.com/sexual-violence/ [enotes.com]

        • Oh, okay, I see. You want to punish the 80% of reformed criminals for life because the other 20% are likely to re-offend. Yes, that's much better.
      • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @12:12PM (#12613662) Journal

        A British newspaper did a bit of shit stirring in an attempt to boost sales. They published locations of sexual offenders names and addresses around the country. It kicked off a wave of assaults, cases of mistaken identity and included one woman whose home was wrecked and she narrowly escaped... because she was a peadiatrician.

        You want mob justice? Prepare for trial by gossip, then.
    • Better? Sex offender locations are better to know than general crime locations? Not when I'm deciding where to live it's not.

    • by Gr33nNight ( 679837 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:40AM (#12613138)
      A friend of mine is labeled a sex offender because when he was 18, his girlfriend was 17 (3 months apart). His girlfriends mother called the policyeabout it and he got arrested. Now he is considered a sex offender.

      Not all sex offenders are child molesters and kiddie rapists.
    • by jbarr ( 2233 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @12:42PM (#12614197) Homepage
      I am certainly not against your idea, but what I don't understand is why we are so eger to have sex offenders' names and locations so easily publically accessible, yet we do not do the same for other criminals? Killers, corporate criminals, etc. Why are these crimes exempt from continued public scrutiny after the criminal has "paid his dues" while sex offenders are not? Yes, sex offenders are a despicable lot, but why do we limit these listings to just them?
      • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by xant ( 99438 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:15PM (#12614759) Homepage
        Because sex offenses of a particular kind are actually related to sexual addiction, and there is an extremely high recidivism rate due to the fact that prisons don't treat addiction very effectively, and treating addiction at all is difficult in the first place, and these are people that are extremely deep into their addictions to have committed their crimes.

        Having said that:
        * Why don't we fix the prison system so it does treat addictive behaviors related to sex?
        * Why don't we distinguish between sex crimes that are connected to an addition and those that are not, and not track sexual offenders who are unlikely to commit a new crime?
        * Why are there so many people on the list who don't deserve to be there? (Misguided applications of the statutory-rape laws come to mind, as others have pointed out.)

        Without fixing these problems I am opposed to the sex offender registry, but I do understand why it exists.
        • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Maestro4k ( 707634 )
          Because sex offenses of a particular kind are actually related to sexual addiction, and there is an extremely high recidivism rate due to the fact that prisons don't treat addiction very effectively, and treating addiction at all is difficult in the first place, and these are people that are extremely deep into their addictions to have committed their crimes.
          To some extent you're correcct, prisons are quite bad at actually treating the addiction (or any underlying reason for criminal activity) so it's n
  • Combine housing maps and crime maps to discover exactly where not to live in Chicago!
    • Combine housing maps and crime maps to discover exactly where not to live in Chicago!

      Then the thieves would start using it to determine where to steal great computer equipment from.
  • My Google Hack Idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0kComputer ( 872064 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:11AM (#12612800)
    Not sure if this has been implemented yet. Or even how to do so, but I think a cool Google hack would be a graphical trace route program simillar to NeoTrace [neotrace.com].

    Not sure how it would make money, but would be cool as hell with those satellite maps.
  • by NewbieV ( 568310 ) * <victor.abrahamse ... om ['mai' in gap> on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:11AM (#12612804)

    The NYPD uses a system very much like this, called COMPSTAT [nyc.gov].

    More about the history of the program here (clicky) [baselinemag.com]

    Here's an excerpt from the NYPD website:
    "Among the Command and Control Center's high-tech capabilities is its computerized 'pin mapping' which displays crime, arrest and quality of life data in a host of visual formats including comparative charts, graphs and tables. Through the use of MAPINFO software and other computer technology, for example, the CompStat database can be accessed and a precinct map depicting virtually any combination of crime and/or arrest locations, crime 'hot spots' and other relevant information can be instantly projected on the Center's large video projection screens."

  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:11AM (#12612805)
    Or is this all a clever trick on Google's part to build up more and more third parties dependent upon Google?

    I doubt that Google intended on getting third parties dependent on GMaps. If they really wanted that to happen they would have released an open API rather than having to have people poke around in the code to figure out how it all worked.

    Yeah, you can do some REALLY neat stuff with GMaps now (and even some of the things I suggested should be available when it first came out) but I just don't think that it was Google's main intention.

    If anything, they just want to be a player in the same markets as Yahoo and MSN and not have to link to their competitor's mapping products.
  • Wow... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DeionXxX ( 261398 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:11AM (#12612806)
    I'm just simply amazed by both of the tools mentioned (the Crime Data and the Housing Maps)... we really live in interesting times. Why do these hacks work so well? Has google built an API to access these maps and to plot points on them, or have the developers of each of these hacks reverse-engineered the Google maps interface and figured out how to place stuff on them?

  • by Embedded Geek ( 532893 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:12AM (#12612814) Homepage
    How long till we have real time crime data showing up on Google's map?


    <obligatory>
    It's already been done [google.com]


    </obligatory>

  • Poor suckers. (Score:5, Informative)

    by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:12AM (#12612821) Homepage Journal
    I was able to tell the moment the Slashdot story went online... the chicagocrime.org site suddenly stopped responding. And it's not like we could have linked to a mirror.

    So you'll just have to take my word for it -- it was pretty cool. I found out that there were three reported crimes at Chicago cemeteries, for example -- a theft, a trespassing, and a vandalism. Crimes at airports included a "theft by lessee" -- looks like there's somebody at Midway who you shouldn't get your rental car from.

    The gas station link is holding up better, though. Hope it's not hosted at a gas station... kablooie!
  • by hwyengr ( 839340 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:13AM (#12612834)
    The Chicago Police Department already has a web interface, called Citizen ICAM, which displays the same info. I do believe that the new site is compiling its data from ICAM. You can check out ICAM at http://12.17.79.6/ [12.17.79.6]
  • by aaronmcdaid ( 771190 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:14AM (#12612845) Journal
    It would be really useful if it could tell where the crime was about to occur .. in advance
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And noting that it doesn't appear at all, I can only conclude that there is no crime in Chicago.

    It must be a wonderful place to live!
  • OT: SimCity (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stibidor ( 874526 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:17AM (#12612885) Homepage
    I haven't been able to connect to the site yet, but I'm wondering how closely it resembles the crime map view in SimCity. :)

    Ah, what a great game...
  • by PhantomHarlock ( 189617 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:17AM (#12612888)
    "Or is this all a clever trick on Google's part to build up more and more third parties dependent upon Google?"

    It's amazing how fast a company can go from being Slashdot's little darling to suddenly being suspected at every turn of being the new EvilEmpire(tm).

    Guys, these people are making wonderful tools and making them available for free, and letting people mess with them. They're probably reading comments like that slack-jawed, thinking "man, you just can't win with that crowd!" Give em a break! :)

    -M

    • For me personally its just been a few things here and there...for one thing Google has grown in size to be hundreds of times what it originally was. Its also now a public company. Those two things mean that even if Sergey and Larry really wanted to do no evil, not everything can still reach their approval. Google has bought like 20 companies since going public...and things have started to slip through, like the Google Web Accelerator, which wreaked all kinds of havok...or the move away from "not being a
  • The big picture (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:17AM (#12612890) Homepage Journal
    (er, so to speak)

    Or is this all a clever trick on Google's part to build up more and more third parties dependent upon Google?

    I think it's just a case of people using tools in ways their creators didn't envision. As Perl's Larry Wall says, that's the mark of a good tool.

    Another way to look at it is that if you serve people, they become dependent on you. Google is trying to build its business by offering services and getting people hooked.

    I, for one, welcome our new information infrastructure servant overlords.

  • Not at all new (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wabin ( 600045 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:21AM (#12612941)
    While this might be neat because it integrates with Google, the concept is not at all new. When I was shopping for condos in Chicago a few years ago, I looked at the Citizen ICAM [12.17.79.6] site (forgive the slashdotting...), which actually has a somewhat better interface for search, in my opinion. It may not look as slick as google, but it does allow you to look over a range of dates, and the map icons identify the type of crime.

    It let me see that one prospective condo was right in a corner of fairly low crime, bordered by much higher crime. I could have guessed that visiting the neighborhood, but it was nice to see somewhat empirically.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:24AM (#12612972)
    a howto [izpug.org] which describes, how to combine Criagslist with Google Maps similar to the site mentioned inn the summary (http://www.paulrademacher.com/housing/ [paulrademacher.com])
  • I was looking for an apartment. I was new to the area, so I had a real estate agent help me. When I asked her about whether the area was "good" or "bad," she replied she was not allowed to give that kind of information.

    As it turned out, the area was "bad." I wonder if she just didn't want to tell me, or is there really such a restriction?

    • Yeah, the real estate agent cannot tell you good or bad since it is up to interpretation. What they can do though is give you the numbers and people that can give you that information. A good realator will give you that info and tell you to look into it.
  • by LanMan04 ( 790429 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:27AM (#12613006)
    How hard is it for the editor who posts these stories to the front page of Slashdot to replace them with Coral Cache links?

    Seriously, just make it an automated process or something. ALWAYS make it a Coral link.
  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:29AM (#12613023) Homepage Journal
    A geographical map of sites unreachable due to the Slashdot Effect.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:31AM (#12613059) Homepage
    COMPSTAT has been doing this for years for the NYPD. They sometimes run the last month as a movie, looped, and watch it for a while. Trends pop out. Patterns appear. Crooks aren't that tactically creative.

    The trick is to come up with a visual representation so that if some crook is hitting South Side liquor stores about once a week, somebody sees it. In classical policing, that's not likely to be noticed unless the crook commits all their crimes in the same precinct on the same shift.

  • Or is this all a clever trick on Google's part to build up more and more third parties dependent upon Google?

    Probably, yes but WTF? Google is offering a service, you can choose to use it, or not. Go build your own if you don't like the fact that a Company is doing it (GL HF). Not every product or service offered by a company is some sort of hidden conspiracy to steal our lives and take our money. I also fail to see how "novelty" products such as these constitute a "dependency" on the google map service.
  • Real-time crime maps have already been done by the guys at rancidbacon.com. So you can see a near real-time Seattle crime map [mygmaps.com]. Well, the crime reporting, not the crime as it's taking place
  • Oh my... (Score:3, Informative)

    by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:41AM (#12613149)
    I'll tell you what the real crime is... not submitting any mirrors! We're going to get arrested for arson on this guy's server.

    Mirrordot came up empty but there does seem to be a Coral Cache [nyud.net] available.
  • What I want is someone to hack google maps to display full screen (1024 X 768) or nearly on 90% of the screen. The challenge is that even if you set the browser to full screen, the map height X width is fixed.

    It should be a very simple hack. Let us know if someone has already done it.
  • Wapiti Watch (Score:2, Interesting)

    by yipper ( 159272 )

    I live in a resort community in the Colorado rocky mountains. Every fall we have a few weeks
    of elk (wapiti) mating season where tourist type folks drive around looking for the herds of elk.

    I think it would be really cool to have a google maps app on a website where people could click on a map to show where they saw elk.

    How would I go about doing that?

  • The data source (city of chicago ICAM) already runs a searchable, mappable, filterable crime map:

    http://12.17.79.6/ctznicam/ctznicam.asp [12.17.79.6] ...and it's not slashdotted.
  • I wish someone would show the sales rates of birth control superimposed over a map so I can find easy women. Actually that would probably backfire. Women smart enough to take charge of their bodies probably have higher self esteem then I could crack. What did Jay and Silent Bob say about abortion clinics?
  • heh. the other night (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Harper ( 5397 ) * on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:53AM (#12613335) Homepage Journal

    I whipped up a google maps hack of geolocation of Illinois registered sex offenders: http://demon.dopeman.org/sexOffenders/ [dopeman.org] It was amazingly easy.

    I used all of the tutorials and shit that the rancidbacon [rancidbacon.com] peeps created. made it rather simple. actually delightful.

    now if i was only mapping locations of something cool.. rather than depressing things.

    stupid maps.

  • by pdxaaron ( 777522 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @12:02PM (#12613494)
    We already have PortlandMaps [portlandmaps.com]. You can see crime maps, tax maps, appraised value, bus routes, upcoming road improvments, much better satallite imagery... Google Maps has nothing on these guys. Every city should have something like this.
  • since, judging by my abilities to connect to the server, some criminals seem to have made off with the server
  • > How long till we have real time crime data showing up on Google's map?

    and then the next logical step...

    Dear Google Inc.:

    I was pleased to hear that Google's map data had finally been merged with real-time crime data. To celebrate, I knocked over two liquor stores on the 800 block of Harrison, then mugged a guy over on Grant and committed some minor vandalism around Eastwood. Then I headed on back to my apartment to see my efforts rewarded on your site.

    Imagine my surprise when I got back to my b
  • I'm sure Maxis will patent this from their use of the tech from SimCity!
  • Anyone into creating a connect the dots [nuklearpower.com] puzzle?
  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:07PM (#12614611) Journal
    How long till we have real time crime data showing up on Google's map?

    How long before real estate interests make him pull the site down or make the agencies providing the crime data stop providing it - or stop providing it in a computer-useful form?

    Not a purely academic question. My wife noticed that crimes we's heard about from other sources was not being reported in some areas of Silicon Valley and asked the San Jose paper in question about it. The person she reached said that they didn't want to depress real estate values. B-(

    Then they wonder why we don't subscribe these days, and prefer to get our news from the web.

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