By Jess Wisloski
CIVIC CENTER — The NYPD made a move towards embracing the digital age with the release of an interactive crime map Sunday.
The release came days after the NYPD ordered police precincts citywide to cut off access to police crime reports by journalists for incidents taking place at a neighborhood level.
With the NYC Crime Map, which was developed in response to Local Law 39 of 2013's mandate of an "interactive crime map," police said, the NYPD is allowing the public to interactively search for felony crime information by the current year, the prior year, and by month within the current year. It also provides "basic data" that can be filtered using an address, zip code, or police precinct to run a summary report.
The map however does not give viewers any idea when a crime happened or other details about the incident.
The data is the same information that has been available since 2003 by way of CompStat reports on the NYPD's website, which are updated as PDFs on a weekly basis. The NYC Crime Map will similarly update on a weekly basis.
The map, which was built by the city using Google products, has one new data point setting itself apart: The concentration of crimes in a given area is indicated by the coloring on the map, shown in a heat map format. Concentration of crimes is measured by how many occurances there are per 1000 residents with least to most depicted ranging in a pale orange to a rust color.
The NYPD warned that this representation made some places with low population like Midtown look disproportionately crime-ridden.
"These areas, particularly in Manhattan have daytime populations that increase disproportionately during the day compared to the area's resident population, resulting in both high crime counts and high crime rates per 1000 population," the department advised in the map's notes.
The NYPD heralded the map as another tool in their crime-fighting arsenal.
"This administration has relied on data to drive its crime fighting, and this map helps enhance New Yorkers’ and researchers’ understanding of where felony and violent crime persists," said Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, who credited CompStat in part for helping drive down crime.
The top seven felonies, or crimes of the highest legal degree of seriousness, are the only ones tracked by NYC Crime Map, and include: murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, grand larceny of a motor vehicle.
Check crime in your neighborhood using the map which can be found here.