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DC Crime Tracker

Page history last edited by AuAcmClub 8 years, 9 months ago

Purpose Statement:


     The DC Crime Tracker is a multi-platform utility for improving citizen awareness of criminal activities in DC.  It is being developed for the Android, iPhone and desktop.


Need Based:


     The citizens of Washington DC are witness to an extensive array of crime each year - with roughly forty-thousand felony crimes reported in each year since 2006.  It is also the eighth most violent city in the US, revealing a need for tools to be made available to its citizens, so that they may be alert, aware and ready to better protect themselves.   In our initial research, our team quickly realized that tools of this nature were severely limited and lacking in sophistication, ease of use, customizability and portability.

     In an effort to apply modern technologies in this void, our team - a group of ACM student chapter members at American University - came up with the idea of a multi-platform crime vizualizer which would provide up-to-date information on crime in the district.  Data is presented in the form of a density map overlay on Google Maps - identifying regions that are high-occurance crime zones, as well as in the form of individual data points which can be viewed at a street-level view.  Using publicly available data provided by the DC Municipal Police Department (http://crimemap.dc.gov/presentation/intro.asp), we were able to build a database of 190,000 crimes spanning a roughly 5-year period.  The crimes were then sorted by type, location, and date.  

      Using our crime database, we were then able to dynamically generate crime-density map overlays for certain periods of time, as well as to generate mappings of all crimes within a given region during that time.  This data is as accurate as the data provided by the DC Municipality, locationally accurate to the half-block.  Users are given tools to sort by the types of crime they are interested in, the time frame they care for, and the physical range they wish to search within.    This allows users to custimize their usage to suit their needs.   




     We envision this program as having several usages.  First, we can see it being useful as a tool for illustrating the issues with crime within the city.  Certain areas experience far higher crime rates than others, and while this is generally known, effective vizualizations of this fact are few and far between.  We see the broader-view density mapping feature as being particularly suited to this usage - where the visual impact of bright red zones in certain urban neighborhoods is dramatically offset by the cool blue of other more gentrified ones.  Second, by virtue of the application's mobile nature, we view this as a way for an individual to increase their own safety horizons.  With the ability to possess up-to-date information on crime across the entire city on a block-by-block and crime-by-crime basis, citizens may be better informed, more alert and able to plan their outings and travel accordingly. 




     In order to facilitate the ongoing usefulness of the project, a small server has been rented for the following year.  It will update specific crime points daily via querying the DC Municipality website and will update density mappings on a weekly basis to provide the most accurate information possible. 




     Our team appreciates the opportunity to participate in Code4Country and thanks our Russian counterparts for their work.  We agree strongly with the mission to bring together our two nations to work on challenges of openness and transparency.  We feel that our app is a powerful, exciting and useful tool for dealing with just those issues and hope that you agree.


The American University ACM Chapter.

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