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Friday, 20 August 2010

Good & not so good Crime/Policing Mapping Sites 3 - SpotCrime

I have tried my best to like SpotCrime because I think the people behind it hearts are in the right place and because it covers large areas of USA and parts of the world. But the lack of information about where  specific data have come from and the non-standardisation of data between different places makes my confidence in the accuracy, comprehensiveness and the appropriateness of the maps very low. They are first generation crime maps for the public and of the not so good sort. The quality control is not there. There may be some quite good individual cities but they are more than let down by the bad ones.

The software supporting the site is good though. SpotCrime seem to be developing They claim it is fast and they are right - impressively so. The software behind reporting a crime is good. The way in which you specifically locate the crime on GoogleMaps to give highly accurate co-ordinates is something all police forces should duplicate.


  1. Thanks Paul - for the mention. We welcome the criticism. If there's a specific qc issue please let me know. We do try to source everything.

  2. Colin D thanks for your comment. Your sources of data appear diverse - police, self-reporting, perhaps people picking things from press reports - and these sources appear to vary from city to city. A page of explanation somewhere on your site regarding the reliability, etc of your data would be helpful and each "crime" bubble could show the source.

  3. Paul. User reported crimes are separate from the validated (police or news reported). We do map news reported crimes- London is a good example. Most large cities in the US are now publishing data in an open format, and we do our best to gather it all. If a police department does not publish their data, we are left with the available news reports.

    When time permits, we map crime in Grimsby and Wandsworth.

    One disturbing trend in the US is the privatization of the data potentially creating significant limitations on access for the media and research purposes. has a interesting article on this.

    I'll see if we can get the source link on the crime bubble.