Car crashes, snow, crime, and public data

no longer vacant Albany map clip
A clip from a map of vacant -- and no-longer-vacant -- properties in Albany, created by Tim Varney last year. See below.

Lots of interesting bits in this Daily Gazette article by Kathleen Moore about how police in Albany and Schenectady are using data*. Here's a clip, about how Schenectady police have been paying closer attention to car crashes:

By tracking car accidents last fall, Schenectady police pinpointed patrols in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood and saw certain crimes plummet by 12 percent in the last quarter of 2012. They are using the same system to respond proactively to crime throughout the city, in hopes of getting similar results everywhere.
Maps of crashes, drunken-driving arrests and other traffic violations are overlaid with maps of crime reports. Police patrols are sent to the hotspots -- locations where traffic problems and crime are high.
"What we know is, the driver that's risky enough to drive drunk ... is often risky enough to take other risks," said federal Highway Safety Specialist Shannon Purdy. "A lot of criminals are caught at seatbelt checks."

A section about the Albany police department mentions how the APD is using weather forecasts to adjust patrols.

Also: Schenectady mayor Gary McCarthy is working with UAlbany's Center for Technology in Government to build a platform that would allow city departments to share code enforcement data (say, about code enforcement), and share it with Albany and Troy.

More, please

That common platform is a good idea. And it's worth pushing even further: Why not created a Capital District consortium for publishing and sharing public data? The org could help develop tools, set common formats, and provide a clearinghouse for sets of public data. It would open the way for more orgs and people to get involved, and even maybe set the stage for new businesses. (NYC is already doing something along these lines.)

Sure, there are obstacles: time, money, attention. And civil liberties issues will probably crop up along the way. But having meaningful access** to data generated by your government is becoming a 21st century civil right.
____

* Yep, it's a Gazette article, but we have a feeling that link will work for you.

** A pdf that you have to file FOIL for is not meaningful access. It's a start, but we do a lot better.

Earlier on AOA:
+ A future timeline of Watson at RPI
+ Map: vacant -- and no-longer vacant -- buildings in Albany -- created by Tim Varney from data published in a city report last year

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Architecture gawking in Albany's warehouse district

The recently announced project to develop plans for reusing a handful of historic industrial buildings around the Capital Region -- and specifically, a very early... (more)

Along the cheese trail

Three things: 1. There is something called the Vermont Cheese Trail. 2. It is not mythical. 3. This is a Wall Street Journal article about... (more)

Exit from Flavortown

Sarah Fish -- chef/owner of the upcoming Cafe Congress in Troy -- was on the Food Network show Guy's Grocery Games Sunday night. Spoiler: She... (more)

Meow

New York is more of a cat state than a dog state, according to estimates from the American Veterinary Medical Association -- there are 1.4... (more)

Greulich's Market checks out

Greulich's Market in Guilderland, in business since 1949, has closed, according to its Facebook page. The Gazette's Bethany Bump reports the situation around the closing... (more)

Recent Comments

Indeed, I would go Mookie Wilson on that meal.

Along the cheese trail

...has 1 comment, most recently from Ryan

Martial arts classes for kids?

...has 10 comments, most recently from John

Reaction to the reaction

...has 2 comments, most recently from -S

The week ahead

...has 3 comments, most recently from Dan Roesser

Greulich's Market checks out

...has 1 comment, most recently from -R.