Two maps of SF crime data

Wed Apr 24, 2013

In Jan. 2013, someone cut the brakes on my bike while it was locked up oustide Noisebridge and stole the handlebars. This was a major nuisance, since my ankle was sprained at the time and bicycling was my sole means of getting around the city.

It was also a hard time for other reasons. Two people that I cared about had passed away the previous week in unrelated incidents that caused a great deal of shock for those who knew them. In this context, seeing my bike forlorn and violently stripped on the sidewalk made me feel unsettled in a way that made me not want to try to fix it.

One of the few things that kept me going that week was organizing the Aaron Swartz Memorial Hackathon at Noisebridge and acting as the coordinator for a worldwide series of similar hackathons. The Noisebridge event itself went off better than anyone expected and was one of the happiest points of my previous year. I didn’t keep close tabs on the hackathons around the world, but it was heartwarming to receive enthusiastic emails from hackers from faraway places like Bangalore and Zagreb, discussing projects they wanted to work on at their local hackerspaces in memory of Aaron.

During the hackathon, I discovered SF’s online treasure trove of SFPD crime incident reports and other open data. I downloaded all the crime reports from the last 10 years and, for the heck of it, made a map of all the bike-related incidents.

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Lesson: don’t park your bike in SF, except for on Treasure Island, the Presidio, and this one weird patch near 15th and Folsom.

And here’s a map of all the prostitution-related incidents, because I had a hunch that this would produce clearer neighborhood boundaries.

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These would be more meaningful if they were heat maps or normalized by density, but you know, life is short.



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