Monday, April 12, 2010

Crime Maps & Statistics

On Sunday, the Durham Herald-Sun reported a new source for mapping crime data in the city of Durham. The new map, a component of the larger law enforcement search tool RAIDS Online, complements the Durham Police Department’s existing Crime Mapper, but offers enhanced search capability and data about a wider range of crimes, such as vandalism and drug-related offenses. RAIDS also offers additional detail about each mapped incident, although for privacy’s sake, exact addresses are not revealed.

Currently, RAIDS provides police data from Durham and Raleigh, in addition to several other U.S. cities (e.g. Cincinnati and Topeka). For other Triangle-area crime mapping, check out the News & Observer database, which also includes data from various Wake County police precincts.

These types of crime maps can be invaluable to area house-hunters who are unfamiliar with particular neighborhoods (as well as fun for the morbidly curious). But what if your local police department doesn’t provide such detailed maps to the public? Check out CriminalSearches Neighborhood Watch, a commercial site which compiles sex offender registries and other crime data across the United States.

Sometimes researchers need more generalized crime statistics (such as tracking the number of reports for a specific crime over a period of time). Our Empirical Research Support page for Justice and Crime Data Sources links to several of the major resources for crime-related statistics, such as the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, and the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.

For help using these and other statistical sources, Ask a Librarian.