Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Do you feel safe? Help make a crowd-sourced map

This is a pretty cool project. The other day, Shaw resident Caitlin Dewey emailed me about something she's working on -- a crowdsourced map of how people feel about their safety. The idea was inspired by a Post article about MPD using data to predict where crime might occur, which also includes looking at how safe people feel. The method is getting increasingly common among police departments, but Dewey decided to do her own survey.

Basically, the survey lists a number of neighborhoods and you choose from 1 (not safe at all) to 10 (very safe). After some emails with Dewey, she also added in a question to ask what neighborhood the respondent lives in, which could make some more interesting analysis -- do people who live certain neighborhoods feel safer or more unsafe than people visiting that neighborhood?

Dewey is going to use the responses to create an interactive map of the neighborhoods that also includes their demographics from the Census. Here's how she chose the neighborhoods: "The 14 neighborhoods in this survey are the five listed in the article plus nine others that have seen an enormous change in class composition over the past 10 years. I found those neighborhoods by analyzing Census tract data from 2000 and 2010. I also called MPDC for the 'official' list of 14, but it doesn't appear I'll be getting it in the near future. So this will have to do!"

It's not a scientific survey (people may have different ideas of neighborhood boundaries, and it depends on the time of day, street they're on, alone or with somebody, etc), and certainly not representative, but it's definitely an interesting idea. Check it out!

Photo from here

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