Flash Mapping Crime

A research and development organization in the United States of America tabulates disaster related data for analytical as well as preventive purposes. Named The Disaster Centre, this organization also has detailed crime statistics tabulated both in order of county-wise police department as well as a more comprehensive state-wise tabulation. These statistics are presented on their website as a simple list of numbers under various heads and makes for very dry as well as difficult to comprehend study. What is also missing in this tabulation is the viewers’ ability to draw actual conclusions from the data they are looking at. This is where the role of Flash Maps comes in.

If we take the US map, for example, flash mapping software allows us to take the data provided and put it in each area using color-coded options which makes it possible to study the statistics from the point of view of an analyst and be able to draw comparative conclusions such as the percentage change in the rate of manslaughter or armed robbery or even rape. In the city of New York, there are more than 40 police department and each of them have their own statistics bearing to the time period right from the 1970s to 2007. We can study the statistics and then draw conclusions as to which state have the highest crime rates overall. We can then color code the states according to high, medium and low rates of crimes and fill in the colors accordingly. This classification can be accompanied by a drill-down option which leads the viewer to the map of the state.

In map classification, states are divided into cities and then further into county-wise police stations. Once we drill-down to a map of a state we are offered a series of differently sized dots representing the cities in a state. The size of the dot varies according to the crime rate in the city. And each dot leads us to a drill-down options which allows us to view flash charts bearing this data with options on the chart itself to get to the county-wise crime rates and also to be able segregate the crimes into categories.