Monday, April 11, 2011

The murda map is back. (Sorry.)

View Violence in Detroit 2011 in a larger map

Back in 2008, when I was in Detroit a whole lot more than I am at the moment, I started compiling a homicide map. In those days, (memories!) getting information out of the DPD was essentially impossible. The idea to adopt a sunshine policy towards crime in the city -- or, should we say, crime that people bothered to report -- and show people where it was or was not happening, well, it just hadn't really occurred to anyone. Just for grins, I tackled the project myself.

The lessons were quick and easy. The more dense the population, the higher the violent crime rate. (Duh.) Sure, the areas around the city core (much safer than many people think, if you don't count smash 'n' grabs during sporting events) had a bunch of dumped bodies and whatnot, but the big stuff -- your multiple homicides, your idiots spraying bullets into nightclub crowds, etc -- odds are, that happened somewhere far, far away, out towards the exits.

After the 2010 Census results came in, and we saw just how much and how fast the city was changing, it occurred that it might be fun to fire up the homicide map idea again; this time, expanding the focus to include major carjackings and the like. There are now multiple websites that do this sort of thing, but with far too little information beyond what initially gets spat out over the scanners.

These days, the cops are much better about releasing information, making it easier to get a clearer, overall picture of what's going on. This is a good thing and a bad thing -- for example, Midtown residents may prefer to remain in the dark when it comes to the amount of armed robberies that have taken place during the evenings along Woodward Avenue so far this year. (Too many, frankly, to include on the map.)

One thing hasn't changed though, if the first three or so months of the year are any indicator: If something really terrible happens, there's a good chance it's going to happen out on the fringes of the city, where more than half of Detroiters now live.

The map will be continuously updated, as events unfold; for suggestions, corrections and clarifications, please drop me a line. Oh, and PS? Looks like I'm coming back. Soon. The blog shall rise, for reals. My apologies, in advance.