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Mayor Bowser Launches New MPD Crime Mapping Application ‘Crime Cards’

Friday, March 9, 2018
Replaces DC Crime Map with a More User-Friendly and Mobile-Enabled Application to Increase Transparency and Accountability

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the launch of Crime Cards - an interactive public crime mapping application that can assist DC residents and visitors by providing easy-to-understand data visualizations of crime locations, types and trends across all eight wards. Crime Cards, which is located at crimecards.dc.gov, will replace the DC Crime Map.

“With our community-based approach to crime and violence prevention, we are building a safer, stronger DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “By improving our crime mapping application to be more user and mobile-friendly, we are providing DC residents with the tools they need to stay informed and building trust and transparency in our community -  an essential part of combatting crime across the District.”

A collaboration between the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), and community members who participated at the #SafterStrongerSmarterDC roundtable design review, Crime Cards is a redesign of DC Crime Map. While Crime Cards will continue to use the same data as the DC Crime Map, the new application is mobile-enabled, more user-friendly, and offers enhanced search options with a modernized design. Additionally, the layout also makes it easier to visualize multiple data formats at once, and users can search the last eight years of data by Police Service Area, police district, geographical area, crime category or type, and date. 

With DC Crime Map being a decade old, its software needed modernization to properly work on mobile devices, which currently accounts for half of Crime Map users. Key improvements in the redesign include:

  • Charts, graphs, and maps are now generated as individual cards and can fit any size screen – phone, tablet, or desktop.
  • Visualizations are simpler and more user-friendly, making concepts easier to understand and promotes data literacy among a wide range of users.
  • Cards are built on a Big Data search engine; therefore, large volumes of data can be quickly displayed and downloaded.
  • The application was built in-house using open source technology. 
  • The Crime Cards website uses a generic design made of reusable parts that can be configured for all types of data.

“An informed community is essential to policing,” says Chief of Police Peter Newsham. “Crime Cards is a successful partnership between District agencies and technology and helps maximize transparency in our community.”   

All statistics presented in Crime Cards are based on preliminary DC Index crime data reported from 2009 to midnight of today’s date. They are compiled based on the date the offense was reported (Report Date) to MPD. The application displays two main crime categories: Violent Crime and Property Crime. Violent Crimes include homicide, sex abuse, assault with a dangerous weapon (ADW), and robbery. Violent crimes can be further searched by the weapon used. Property Crimes include burglary, motor vehicle theft, theft from vehicle, theft (other), and arson. 

“Collaboration is key to improving our communities and innovation propels it further. OCTO's development team worked with software from local small business Mapbox, to develop a new user-friendly system. Systems like this and openly releasing the data behind them builds trust and communication with District residents,” said Interim Chief Technology Officer Barney Krucoff. “This data-driven tool, coupled with our partnership with MPD and with residents, arms its users with access to crime data and has the potential to highlight crime trends and encourage community engagement."

Founded and headquartered in the District in 2010, Mapbox provides a data platform for mobile and web applications to a variety of industry leaders, including CNN, General Electric, IBM, Instacart, Lonely Planet, Mastercard, Snapchat, Tableau, and The Weather Channel. OCTO collaborated with Mapbox to add location features like maps, search, navigation, and a standard English sentence to enable smarter and more insightful searches and create a more user-friendly application. 

The Mayor was joined by Kevin Donahue, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice (DMPSJ); Peter Newsham, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief; and Barney Krucoff, Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) Interim Chief Technology Officer (CTO).