Web site to show city crime trends

The system, called Crime Maps, lets users search a year's worth of crimes on a block-by-block level


By Frank Main
Chicago Sun-Times

Thinking of moving, but don't want to get stuck on a high-crime block?

At 10 a.m. today, Trulia, a residential real-estate website, is expected to launch a new mapping tool that allows home buyers, sellers and renters to look at citywide crime trends in 50 metropolitan areas, including Chicago.

The system, called Crime Maps, lets users search a year's worth of crimes on a block-by-block level.

The crime statistics are displayed on a "heat map" with low-crime areas shaded in green and high-crime areas in red.

Users can post comments on a particular area. For example, a block might not have many reported crimes, but a resident might still want to warn of another issue there, said Eric Wu, head of geo/social products at Trulia.

"There is a lot of color you can't capture with crime data, like noise problems," Wu said.

Wu acknowledged some people might take offense to having their block - or neighborhood - highlighted in red. They, too, can comment on why they believe the characterization is misleading, he said.

Eventually, Trulia plans to add maps of school ratings, rental pricing and the density of parks, banks - and even coffee houses, Wu said.

Wu said Trulia has obtained about 25 million individual crime reports from more than 1,000 police agencies. The San Francisco-based company is partnering with EveryBlock.com, CrimeReports.com and SpotCrime.com, which gather crime data.

Trulia's latest mapping tool can be found here.

Copyright 2011 Sun-Times Media, LLC

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