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SpotCrime Tells You Just How Dangerous Your Neighborhood Is

Online maps are great for more than just plotting a trip or looking up addresses. The folks at Google make it relatively easy for programmers and even novice users to add all kinds of overlays to maps, detailing points of interest, favorite routes and even data points that show the locations of criminal acts.

This brings us to SpotCrime, a Web site that uses Google Maps to show where assaults, shootings, robberies, and other bad deeds have taken place. This is similar to a Brazilian Web site called WikiCrimes we wrote about last month. That site, however, lets users input their own information on alleged criminal acts. SpotCrime marks its map by taking information from police reports, so there's no user input., which we wrote about in February, also maps criminal activity and actually gets paid by participating police departments to review their logs and upload the map stats.

Neither SpotCrime nor CrimeReports offers complete coverage of the United States -- just major cities. CrimeReports does have plans to continue expanding its roster of participating police departments.

While SpotCrime gets most of its information from police reports, it also monitors local news coverage of crime, so like the Brazilian site it goes beyond the official record to at least enhance its data.

Bad acts are represented by icons on the map, which are pretty easy to interpret: A small flame means arson, bull's-eye means a shooting, a dark ski mask (adorable?) means a robbery has taken place.

Do you live on the wrong side of the tracks or in a safe neighborhood? Take a look at SpotCrime. You may be surprised by what you find. [Source: TechCrunch.]

Tags: breaking news, BreakingNews, crime reporting, CrimeReporting, google, maps