New on EveryBlock: San Francisco police calls

Nov252008

We’re excited to launch a fantastic new data set on EveryBlock: police calls in San Francisco.

In our new San Francisco police calls section, we publish all calls to public safety dispatchers — whether they’re made by citizens or police officers and whether they involve criminal or non-criminal activity. This includes a wealth of interesting local news, like calls about abandoned vehicles, political demonstrations and intoxicated people — plus more serious criminal activity, such as homicide, shots fired and burglary. Here’s the full list of incident types in the data; more will be added over time as they appear in our data feed.

But having published crime data in other cities, we know it’s important to help people see the forest for the trees. Going beyond the raw data that was provided to us, we have painstakingly categorized the police calls into higher-level classifications called “broad category” and “detail category.” Broad categories include violent crime, domestic violence and police action/assistance. Detail categories are more granular; all alarm reports are grouped together, as are reports of assaults, threats and vandalism, among several other categories.

Note that “broad category” and “detail category” are not official police categories, but we crafted them with input from the police department. These categories are our attempts at EveryBlock to group incidents with broad strokes — to make it easier for San Francisco residents to understand larger crime trends in their neighborhoods.

This data comes to us directly from the San Francisco Police Department. We’ve worked with the SFPD to generate a feed of police calls, which you can download and analyze on your own. The data is updated every day.

Previously, we published crime information on our San Francisco site, but the data wasn’t very useful because crimes were only identified to the ZIP code level. (For example, a pickpocketing would only be identified as having taken place somewhere in 94124. This doesn’t help much on a site whose focus goes way beyond ZIP code level.) In this new data set, police calls are identified to nearest block, which is profoundly more useful and relevant. We’ve removed the old crime section from our site, as having that data side-by-side with the new data would be overwhelming and confusing.

As always on EveryBlock, you can sign up for daily e-mail alerts or intensely customizable location-specific RSS feeds for this new information. (Search for your address, then click “Custom RSS feeds” or “E-mail updates” in the upper right.) If you’re already signed up for a San Francisco RSS feed or e-mail alert, you’ll start seeing this new information right away.

We’re proud of this new data set and how far our San Francisco site has come since our launch in January. If you have any feedback, drop us a line at feedback at everyblock.com.

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