Salem, Ore., maps crime data for all to see

City police department joins 900 other agencies in contributing to mapping site

The city of Salem, Ore., has joined a growing list of communities that are making crime data available online to residents.

City officials recently agreed to deliver raw data to CrimeReports.com, which displays it on clickable, searchable maps, according to the Salem Police Department.

Users can view crime statistics down to the block level by searching for an address or clicking and zooming in on the mapping application. Crimes ranging from theft to violent offenses are reported to the site within 72 hours. Incident descriptions and case numbers are available if a visitor wants to request a copy of a report, although victim’s names have been removed. The map also allows users to view information on sex offenders in their neighborhoods.

CrimeReports.com is a commercial service, but it’s free to users. More than 900 law enforcement agencies contribute information. Salem residents can access data via CrimeReports' site or the city police department's site, which also includes an instructional video on using the data.

Other cities are also making efforts to release crime data online. For example, New York City issues weekly reports by precinct on the police department's website, and Baltimore has an application that lets people query the city’s database of reported crimes.

But few, if any, individual police sites offer block-by-block reports.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is editor of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCaney.

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