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Sunday, 29 June 2008

LA Times macabre map of murder!

IMAGE: LA Times homicide mapLA Times helpfully mapping out the murders of Los Angeles.

Anyone that travels, knows that a most vital bit of kit for venturing into the unknown, is of course a map. But how good is your map? Does it give you all the 'essential' information? What information IS essential?

Okay, so you have a highly detailed up-to-date map. It shows the quickest routes, local amenities, train and bus stations, parking areas and probably places of local interest.
BUT! Does it pin point and highlight for you the local streets with the highest homicide rate so far this year, indicating that it may not be in your best interests (so to speak), to use that route just because it looks the quickest?

Well the helpful folks at the L A Times have a helpful page on their website, listing and displaying on a Google map the homicides in Los Angeles so far this year. A 'murder map' if you will.
They describe it as "a visual interface to The Times Homicide Report".

The Times Homicide Report records all the homicides in the Los Angeles area. Information including, the victim(s), the perpetrator(s) (if known), method of murder, location of murder, age, sex and race of victim(s).
Now this is where the fancy murder map web page comes in.

IMAGE: LA Times murder map filterThe page displays the total homicides in LA so far this year (362 at time of writing).
Below this number, the weekly toll is indicated and displayed across the months, appearing as a bar graph (as seen in pic above).
By default all homicides are displayed on the map, but websites being the commonly interactive things they are, you are able to tick boxes in a filter to only display specific results.

The filter is split into
  • Age
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Cause of death
  • Day of week
  • Killing by police
  • Suspected domestic incident
Fiddling around with these boxes gets you some interesting results. On the right, under the map, the names of the homicides currently being displayed on the map are listed.
Each name is a link to its corresponding entry in the 'Homicide Report'.

Check out the LA Times Homicide Map here.

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