I saw this yesterday but am just not actually reading it. It was on World Changing this morning.
Anyway, someone has created Chicagocrime.org. It’s basically a database of reported crimes in Chicago. The coolest thing is it’s integrated with Google Maps. So, you can see where in the city of Chicago crime is mostly happening. The World Changing people related this to the different map views in the old Sim City game. In that you could see crime rates and that sort of stuff. Throw a police station down in the middle of the high crime rate places and watch the crime rates fall.
It’s a very interesting site and a really neat project. I hear they’re aiming to eventually get real-time crime data available. Here’s a little opener about this from the World Changing site. They’ve got a really good write-up of the entire system.
Regular players of SimCity will recall that the map of the town where you see the buildings and the little people going about their business is actually not the most important map in the game. The data maps — showing crime rates, pollution distribution, traffic and the like — are far more critical tools for figuring out where to put that police station, wind farm, or subway. But what if you could have similar maps for real cities?