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

Photos from AOA6

Thanks to everyone who celebrated the AOA birthday with us this week at The Malt Room at Brown's in Troy. It was great to see... (more)

Recycled: The superiority of the peanut butter egg

Because it was popular last year -- and the season for it is here -- we thought we'd resurface this post about the superiority of... (more)

AOA birthday drawing: Lunch with AOA

This week AOA celebrates our 6th birthday, but we're giving you the presents. Each day we'll have a drawing for some fun Capital Region stuff.... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Helllloooooo weekend. We're inching our way back toward something that feels like springtime, so hang in there. Between Easter and Passover the list of stuff... (more)

Morning Blend

Trinity Copeland trial: The attorney for the Troy teen accused of fatally shooting her father in 2012 tried to push back on the prosecution's assertion... (more)

Recent Comments

The night that The Egg launches into space to return to its homeworld will be epic.

AOA birthday drawing: Lunch with AOA

...has 31 comments, most recently from Alisa

Dog etiquette

...has 12 comments, most recently from Sean

Recycled: The superiority of the peanut butter egg

...has 1 comment, most recently from Mark

AOA birthday drawing: cider, spirits, and beer

...has 129 comments, most recently from llcwine

Today's moment of spring

...has 2 comments, most recently from ace