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

Today's moment of spring

What was that you said? We were distracted by something...... (more)

Trains great and otherwise

Over at National Journal there's an interesting article looking at why the state of passenger rail service in the US is often underwhelming. Here's a... (more)

YouthFX film selected for Los Angeles Film Fest

This is great: One of new films produced by the YouthFX program in Albany has been selected to screen at this year's Los Angeles Film... (more)

US 20

Here's a fun article by Deanna over at the Syracuse Media Group's New York Upstate site highlighting some of the sites and spots along US... (more)

What's up in the Neighborhood

Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: the creative process, the Church of the Holy Innocents, an architecture... (more)

Recent Comments

I don't know why the word "boodler" fell into disuse. It's a great word.

Drawing: Mamma Mia! at Proctors + Aperitivo

...has 39 comments, most recently from Vicky

Why Ommegang became a concert destination

...has 10 comments, most recently from Jeff M

Conversations about the future direction of Honest Weight

...has 5 comments, most recently from MargieC

Falafel and shawarma at Saati Deli and Catering

...has 9 comments, most recently from Deanna

Fork in the Road #1

...has 6 comments, most recently from HuckFinn