Geographic Information Systems — GIS — is a visual way to map and geolocate data. There’s Big Money in GIS mapping when it comes to matters of Public Health trends and systems and in proactively predicting the where, how and why crime will appear in your local municipality.
Because New York City is so big and massive and filled with folks from across the socioeconomic spectrum, crime mapping the Big Apple makes for a rich experience.
Here’s a recent, and keen, GIS visualization of SpotCrime’s report for Greenwich Village in New York City:
Here are the gory contextual details of that graphical map.
When you click on the “View Details” link, you drill even deeper into the dark gut of Manhattan with the raw specifics of the reported criminal incidents:
Each day, the New York Police Department announces major crimes, including most homicides, in the five boroughs. This data is compiled from those reports, in addition to news accounts, court records and additional reporting. The map will be updated as new information becomes available.
Here’s a NYTimes report on crime data dated June 2009:
A young boxer was shot dead outside a Bronx bodega at 3:30 a.m. on a Saturday last August. Weeks later, a 59-year-old woman was beaten to death on a Saturday night on the side of a Queens highway. On the last Sunday in September, violence exploded as five men were killed in a spate of shootings and stabbings between midnight and 6 a.m.
Seven homicides in New York City. None connected in any way but this: They happened during the summer months, when the temperatures rise, people hit the streets, and New York becomes a more lethal place.
The quantification of criminal behavior and threats to society is an important aspect of GIS mapping, and we all willingly — or unwillfully! — help add aspect and depth and definition to these numbers when we agree to let our smartphone geographically update our eventful dates and times with geolocation data.
We are quickly becoming numerical data points for visual mapping. Our qualitative lives and emotions and residues are being devolved into values with no value: We circle from dust to ash and back to the earth we go.
We are now but mere marketplace commodities and our historical information is bartered and traded on the open markets like hog bellies and cattle futures: From lasso to necktie to noose.
The most dangerous game has always been the human one, but the most profitable game has always been the one with the best reductive numerical quantification of our most basic animalistic behavior — and that includes locating, and predicting, and stopping, the beast in us all.