D.I.Y. Detective

One of the cooler things about the Chicago police's big anti-crime database is that any beat cop can use it to track criminal patterns in his or her neighborhood -- something that only detectives could do a few years back. Now, with Google Maps and a slick little website called ChicagoCrime.org, citizens can get in on the act, too.The site lets you search and map every crime in the Windy City, by beat, by date, by felony, or by site -- from alleyways to ATMs to abandoned buildings. The searches take a few seconds. And they come with a handy map of the infractions, so you know where to watch your neck.The whole thing kinda reminds me of what CPD Commander Jim Keating told me a few months back about his database:

"Before, it would take six to eight months to develop a set of contacts in your district. And we had to rely on the detectives to put together the patterns," Keating says. "Now, it's click, click, click, and we have it all citywide... It slaps me in the face, how much information we have." (via Boing Boing)
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