We hear the sirens and often see the lights of police cruisers bouncing off of buildings down the street. Most often, however, we’re (blissfully?) unaware of why the police were on-scene in our neighborhood unless it happens to make the paper. However, there is a way to determine the crime that’s taking place in and around your home.
Well, the Chicago Police Department has a service called ClearMap that will actually notate the number, and type, of crimes near your home or business using an address, street, park, beat, ward, precinct, ward, or community.
The site also allows users to choose the type of crimes that show up on the read out. For instance, if you were only interested in property crimes, you can check the boxes that cover vandalism, theft, vehicle vandalism, vehicle theft, arson, stolen property, etc. If you are looking strictly at homicides, the ClearMap system provides those crimes as well.
Thus, whether determining an area where you are looking to buy/rent, or plotting out your morning run, ClearMap can, over time, help you with your requests. Plus, it also allows users to track certain crimes in the neighborhoods in which they live so that they can petition their Alderman for more patrols.
The ClearMap system is not perfect; it’s a bit difficult to get the hang of it (you may need to change your screen resolution) and it’s also a bit “clunky” when compared to Google Maps or Google Earth. However, once you figure out how the system works, it’s relatively painless though be warned that it does “hang-up” every once in a while. Also, although the ClearMap requirements state that the best browsers to use are IE or Firefox, I had the best luck with Google Chrome with my screen set to maximum resolution. The only other “complaint” I have with this application is that it’s a week behind the current date. For instance, for the map of Milwaukee and Fullerton that I pulled up, I was able to choose from January 1, 2009 to December 26, 2009 despite the fact that today is January 6, 2010. But, nothing is perfect, and as technology improves, the update times will improve as well.
In any event, it’s another resource that may help to keep you, and your loved ones, safe.