Mapping crime in San Diego neighborhoods just got easier and sleeker, says the Voice of San Diego. Law enforcement agencies across the region have begun posting crime information to a new online interactive tool. The website, CrimeMapping.com, is free to the public and a major improvement from the region’s previous crime mapping system. The site works like online mapping websites like Mapquest and Google Maps. Plug in an address, city, or law enforcement agency, and the map will zoom to your results. You can then zoom in or out and easily scan for crimes in the surrounding area. Pinpointing crime problems in neighborhoods and putting them in a broader context — such as the impact of nearby businesses, parks or roads — now takes just a few minutes.
Readers ask about crimes occurring near businesses or proposed shops so they can use those crime figures at planning hearings. With more data, the new tool becomes a more visually powerful asset in these debates. If you click the link icon in the upper right corner of the map (it looks like a paperclip), the tool will create a unique website URL for your map. Then you can email, tweet or post that link online. CrimeMapping.com also allows you to sign up for crime alerts. You plug in an address, choose a radius of up to two miles away and select which types of crimes you want to be notified of. Then, when police report new crimes, the website sends you an email. The new system limits results to a maximum 800 crimes. That becomes more of a problem as you zoom out or try to analyze more common crimes, such as drug or alcohol violations, over a lengthy period of time.