krimelabb – heat maps

krimelabb, a fantastic website for analyzing crime data in the City of Austin, has added “heat maps” to their data visualization tools.

Jack Darby, the man behind krimelabb, shared a few tricks with me about using the website.

One of the best tricks? Use “99999” as the zip code — that gives you city-wide data. The thing with the heat maps is they are relative to their data set, so when you view a heat map for a small area with little crime, the maps “look bad” because relative to that data set, an incident of 1 is pretty hot. So the heat maps work better in things like viewing crime city-wide — helps put things in better perspective.

So let’s see here…

Heat map for aggravated assault in Austin, 2014 to date

Imagine that — downtown (6th Street), I-35 and Rundberg, Riverside and Pleasant Valley.

Heat map for homicide in Austin, 2014 to date.


Heat map for rape in Austin, 2014 to date.

Same places, adding in the University of Texas area.

Anyways… you get the idea.

Remember John Farnam’s maxim: “Don’t go to stupid places; don’t associate with stupid people; don’t do stupid things. We will add to that, be in bed by 10 o’clock.”

You can spend hours getting lost in the krimelabb data and visualization tools. And while you do, you’ll see how much Farnam’s maxim holds true — both for people that get in trouble (because they don’t follow his maxim), and for how to avoid trouble (by following his maxim).

You’ll also see that while there are worse parts of town than others, you’ll discover that no part of town is immune, no time of day is immune. Crime happens everywhere, any time. Just because you weren’t a direct victim today, just because you didn’t hear about it on the news or read it in your news feed, doesn’t mean it’s not happening around you — look at the data.

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