Denver GIS website helps citizens track crime in their neighbourhoods

Denver GIS website helps citizens track crime in their neighbourhoods

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Redlands, California—The City and County of Denver recently expanded its ESRI-powered Denver Maps Internet Web site to make available three years of local crime data to the public. The new mapping service leveraged ESRI’s geographic information system (GIS) application framework to enable residents to be more informed about criminal activity in their communities and help foster greater collaboration between the public and the Denver Police Department.

“When the mayor took office more than four years ago, a primary focus was to improve public safety. To assist with this, the mayor hired an independent monitor to take a look at how the police are doing their job,” says David Luhan, director of geospatial applications. “One of the recommendations that came out was to provide the community with a way to be more informed about what is going on in their neighborhoods to help in preventing crime. Making this information available to the public has epitomized true community policing. GIS has assisted Denver’s Crime Prevention and Control Commission to help reduce crime by over 10 percent in 82 percent of the neighborhoods in the city.”

The Denver crime mapping application was launched in November 2007, leveraging GIS data from the city’s vast spatial information resource, and maintains crime data from 2005 to the present. The application was developed by the city’s Denver GIS group, which worked closely with the Denver Police Department and the mayor’s office for application customization and policies for record publishing. Within the first 24 hours of being featured on local Denver news stations, the Denver Maps site recorded more than 119 page views a minute, averaging 1,110 report views per hour. “The ESRI application suite provides the speed, scalability, ease of integration, and functionality to enable us to meet the growing demand for geographic information services,” says Luhan.

Denver residents can now search up-to-date crime data, generate maps and tables, and obtain a detailed understanding of crime that has occurred in their neighborhood or area of interest. They simply enter information about a particular crime type, date range, time period, or location or use the intuitive digital map interface to point to and click on an area of interest. The application displays maps of individual crimes and related tables detailing when and where incidents occurred. It allows people to search by address, park, school, library, or neighborhood. Information is updated daily as new crimes are reported and investigations yield new information. Certain information is withheld to avoid identifying juveniles or victims of sex crimes. The Denver Maps site can be accessed at www.denvergov.org/maps under Public Safety, then Custom Crime reports.

“Crime is not solely a police problem; it is also an issue for everyone in the community,” says Lew Nelson, law enforcement industry solutions manager, ESRI. “The Denver Maps crime mapping Web site is an excellent example of law enforcement sharing relevant information with their community. Experience has demonstrated that educating a community about the nature and location of their problems empowers them to assist in addressing those problems.”