In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City has seen a surge in criminal activities. In 2023, major crime continues to be higher compared to pre-pandemic levels. Although progress is being made to reduce the number of murders and robberies, law enforcement is continuing to struggle with increases in felony assaults and car thefts. Our project serves to benefit members of the community and law enforcement alike. We created a heat map, which is a visual representation of data that uses colors to represent different values. In the context of crime mapping, our heat map is used to show the density of crimes in a particular area.
As of today, the NYPD utilizes two databases: Compstat 2.0 & Excel. Compstat 2.0, updated on a weekly basis, shows a change in the number of crimes compared to the week’s prior across several boroughs and precincts. The Excel data spans from 2000 to 2022 with the same type of information. The drawback here is that the average community member in New York City can’t draw any conclusions from the data available to them. This means that they have access to this data, but with no means to interpret the data in a simple manner.
In our approach, we created a visual, animated representation of the data from 2000 to 2022. Thus, we have simplified the process for anybody who wishes to understand how crime rates evolve over the years, especially for those who live in neighborhoods that are high risk. In addition, we believe law enforcement can also utilize this resource as a means to better allocate resources to underserved neighborhoods. If successful, any individual in New York City, including tourists, can analyze the heat map to study which neighborhoods are at risk for crime so that they can be wary of their surroundings. It’s important to understand that with graphics the average community member will be more inclined to take safety precautions when commuting around New York City.
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Gebreamlak, Beruktawit and Ochoa, Daniel, "Heat Mapping Crime: A Data-Driven Approach to Policing in New York" (2023). altREU Projects. 16.