Boston residents and community groups, frustrated by how difficult it is to get current crime statistics from the Police Department, can look forward to a Web site showing crime patterns neighborhood by neighborhood with only a three-day lag time, says the Boston Globe. Citizens also will be able to check reported crimes in their area and citywide on computer terminals in district stations. In recent weeks, some community leaders have assailed Mayor Thomas Menino and Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole for what critics call a lack of transparency in reporting crime. The most recent crime data on the city’s website is from July, a delay that activists say undermines community policing.
Christopher Fox of the department’s Bureau of Administration and Technology said officials are working hard to erase the nearly four-month backlog that he said results from checking on whether officers in the field are classifying crimes correctly in reports. Boston is behind many cities in posting crime data in a timely fashion. In Chicago, residents can search a database of maps, graphs, and tables of reported crime, which is updated daily. The database has a lag time of one week, but is organized so that residents can type in their address and see the number, category, and location of crimes from a radius of a quarter-mile up to a mile. In New York City, users can search their area and compare the percentage of change in seven major crime categories going back to 1990. The site’s data is a month old. In Washington, D.C., crime data is updated monthly, and in Baltimore weekly.