Michal Migurski, Tom Carden: Oakland Crimespotting

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    Oakland Crimespotting


Creation Year:



Artist Statement:

    Oakland Crimespotting is a research project of Stamen Design developed as a response to the existing Oakland, California Police Department crime-reporting application, CrimeWatch. It is an instance of the now-familiar “mashup”, an online application derived from multiple input data sources. Many works in this genre stop at placing colored pins on a map, but we looked at ways to expand the typical functionality of the ubiquitous crime map to make it more useful for local citizens. As with many projects, Crimespotting didn’t start with a concrete goal in mind; it was born out of frustration, matured through basic technical research, and finally made public after a traumatic crime in Oakland focused national attention on the city.

    We paid special attention to the ways in which such data can be more web resident, by providing every view, list, police beat, and individual report with its own permanent URL. Locally useful information of the kind published through Crimespotting is a form of community property and must be available for linking and conversation in order to be optimally useful to the population affected by the data.

    As the project has matured since its launch in September 2007, we have expanded it into newer forms of data representation. Individual police-beat pages were added in 2008 after feedback from our users suggested that these administrative boundaries were an important point of communication with the police department. Currently, we’re extending the beat pages with maps that we believe address critical shortcomings in existing implementations of the concept.