SpotCrime Introduces Crime Data Standard for Publishing Publicly

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SpotCrime, the most popular crime mapping site in the US, has developed an open crime data standard for police agencies when publishing crime data publicly, according to company founder Colin Drane.

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As the most visited public crime mapping website, we have a lot of knowledge behind what information the public wants to see.

In an effort to encourage police agencies throughout the world to keep public crime data uniform, simple, and ubiquitous, SpotCrime has developed the SpotCrime Open Crime Standard (SOCS) to standardize crime data that is released by police agencies. SpotCrime anticipates that the standard will make public crime information more open, transparent, and accessible closing the communication gap between police agencies and the public. Similar to LIVES with health inspection data or GTFS with transit data, SOCS will also allow agencies to report the same kind of information to the public, causing less confusion from agency to agency.

Drane believes reports mandated by the FBI like UCR and NIBRS and methods for agencies to share information among each other such as N-Dex, NEIM, GJXDM already in existence are not enough for public consumption.

"We believe applying this standard will not only help agencies collaborate, but will help close the gap between desire and ability for developers and residents. It will also allow for local crime data to be understood at any level whether it’s locally, countywide, regionally, statewide, nationally, or internationally," says Drane.

Some additional benefits of standardizing and releasing data openly include cost savings associated with public records inquires as well as vendor fees associated with displaying information to the public. Most importantly, it will allow developers to write apps consuming the data in a functional format for free.

"The Open Data movement is taking hold worldwide. As the most visited public crime mapping website, we have a lot of knowledge behind what information the public wants to see. We believe the standard should be applied to every police agency and residents should demand that this information be made available electronically through their city’s open data portal," says Drane.

The SpotCrime Open Crime Standard includes the type of information that should be released as well as the formats and file types that are acceptable.

To learn more about the details of or to leave feedback on SOCS, contact feedback(at)spotcrime(dot)com.

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Brittany Suszan
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