"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Oakland Crimestopping

Location: Oakland,CA

Website: www.oakland.crimestopping.com

This project is not affiliated with the City of Oakland or the Oakland Police Department, but we do use data published on CrimeWatch, the City’s community crime mapping website.

There are several things to do here:

- Browse crime reports by day and by type.

- Sign up to receive e-mail alerts and RSS feeds for crime reports in your neighborhood.

- Information about site updates and new features can be found on our blog, blog.crimespotting.org.

Unfortunately, CrimeWatch suffers from a few drawbacks that we believe Crimespotting helps to address.

CrimeWatch is inaccessible to many popular browsers, and does not “gracefully degrade” for maximum flexibility. CrimeWatch provides maps of crime reports but makes them difficult to explore.

Our map view is completely explorable - it’s possible to pan and zoom, select date ranges in the past, and view specific kinds of crimes.

You can also share links directly to a particular view of the map, which is important for sharing and publishing information. If you don’t have the required Flash plug-in to view the interactive map, we have a browseable crime database with maps in image form for combinations of dates and types of crime.

We believe that this map-first approach is a valuable and sensible way to publish information for people to use - everyone knows how to find their house, school, or workplace on a map, but few people remember relevant details such as the city council district or police beat these places occupy.

An important source of inspiration for Oakland Crimespotting comes from Chicago Crime, a freely browseable database of crimes reported in Chicago created by Adrian Holovaty and Wilson Miner.

Once per day, we collect fresh crime reports from CrimeWatch and save them in our database. The technical details on how this is done can be found on Mike’s blog, especially in posts from December and January. We are currently exposing crime reports going back one month.

The map is an example of Modest Maps, our Flash and Python framework for displaying tile-based geographical images. The tiles we’ve chosen to use come from Microsoft® Virtual Earth™.


Oakland Crimespotting was designed and built by Stamen Design’s Michal Migurski, Tom Carden, and Eric Rodenbeck. Feedback, complaints, and suggestions are welcome at info@crimespotting.org.

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