Crime happens, therefore we need crime maps to visualize them. Law-enforcement agencies across the country are engaging the public by disseminating local crime information.
The agencies do this for two reasons:
(1) knowledgeable citizens can help solve crimes that might otherwise go unsolved, and
(2) people should be forewarned and avoid becoming accidental victims of violent crimes. Crime maps will allow crime data to be collected and published with a visual representation.
A list of crimes can be published in many ways, but a presentation on a map is the best way to get an overall sense of crimes in a neighborhood. That’s where ZeeMaps steps in: we provide an easy way to publish a list of crimes on a map.
Create a Crime Map
Creating a new crime map is simple in ZeeMaps: click on the “Create Map” link on the home page. You will get a dialog box to enter information about the map, e.g., its name, the location for which you are building the map. It is a good idea to put an “Admin password” for the map so only users with this password can make changes to the map.
We named our map “Crime Map Example” We’ve also given it an Admin password and set the starting location to Memphis. Now when we hit the “Create” button, we get an empty map positioned in Memphis, TN.
Let’s start populating this empty map with some made-up crimes.
Add Markers to Crime Map
To add crimes, we have two choices: (1) we can add one crime at a time, or (2) we can upload a list from a spreadsheet. Let’s add one crime entry first. We do this by clicking on the menu item Additions on the menu bar above the map, and then selecting “Add Marker” from the resulting drop-down menu. This results in a dialog box for us to enter information about the marker.
The user can choose a simple marker entry (left) or a detailed marker entry (right).
The Detailed Add Entry dialog has four tabs: (a) Location, (b) Information, (c) Media, and (d) Help. Use the Location tab to enter basic information about the crime, e.g., crime specifics, address and category. For the address, you can be as detailed as you want: enter a street address, cross-streets, or just the city.
In case you do not want to give details of the location, you can use “Map Select a Location” to pin-point where you want to position the marker.
We fill out this form, including the Information tab and hit Submit.
Once we hit submit, we will see a marker added to the map for an Domestic Violence crime category.
If you chose the simple marker, you can still add additional fields later on. To add additional fields for time, date, case no. , etc. click Map -> Marker Fields. Then, double click to define the field name. For example, we added Location, Time, and Date below.
Uploading a crime list to map from a Spreadsheet
We will now add multiple markers at once, using data from a spreadsheet. Then we create a spreadsheet, with the example columns, such as, “Name, street, city, postcode, category, case number, suspect, juvenile, date, time, and notes”. Next we add rows for each of our crime entry.
Finally, we save the spreadsheet as a CSV file, and upload it to our map using the “Additions->Upload CSV” menu item.
To find more info on adding Spreadsheets here
Geocoding for Crime Location
ZeeMaps will find the best fit for a location based on the information that you supply in the spreadsheet. In case you want to override the location found by ZeeMaps, or do not wish to use the geocoding provided by ZeeMaps, you can also use latitude and longitude columns to specify your own latitude and longitude values.
Searching the Crime Map
Notice the “Search” button on the published map above. You can click on the Search button to search for crimes marked on the map. For example, search for all crimes between the dates of 05/01/2020 and 05/18/2020, as shown below.
Suspicious Activity Reports
It is easy to get users to submit suspicious activity reports and have them managed on the crime reports map. Map admins can moderate the entries so that they are published when approved.
ZeeMaps is engineered to handle large datasets, so it can scale easily from a few entries to tens of thousands of entries. The scalability relates to both the performance of marker display as well as reducing visual clutter.