Friday, November 2, 2012

City Cops Releasing More Detailed Crime Stats - For Free!

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 6:27 AM

STL cops get way more open with their stats. Way to go! - IMAGE VIA
  • Image via
  • STL cops get way more open with their stats. Way to go!
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police department is now offering reams of criminal statistics on its website that, heretofore, you had to formally request (and likely pay for) -- a change that's "all to the good," says Richard Rosenfeld, an UMSL professor and criminologist-in-residence at city hall.

Up until recently, John Q. Citizen could go to the SLMPD's website and download stats, but  they weren't very specific.

For example, you could download the total number of assaults, larcenies and homicides etc. for a given neighborhood, district or ward, but that was it.

Now, you can see all that and much more when you download the "Crime Detail" file: 

-- The date and time that the crime occurred;

-- The address where the crime occurred (and sometimes a clarifying note, such as "The Arch - south leg")

-- "X and Y Coordinates" for pinpointing the incident on a map (Daily RFT has not figured out how to use these yet; when we do, we'll update this post)

-- A detailed description of the crime (instead of just "Assault," you'd see "ASSAULT, ADULT, AGE 17 AND UP-DOMESTIC")

-- All of the above data going back to 2008!

This data, Rosenfeld says, "is what the command staff uses in its weekly CompStat meetings. They go over the prior week's crime stats by district, location, street address in order to see where it's going up, where it's going down, where it's changing."

This was all available to the public before, says police spokeswoman Schron Jackson, but you had to submit a request under Missouri's Sunshine Law (the state's open records law).

Daily RFT applauds the SLMPD for its willingness to be more transparent and open with the public.

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