Crime Incidents

Item Description
Current Status Commercial, none are sufficiently established
Potential Implementing Agencies Local and State Police Organizations
Potential Founding/Sponsoring Organizations Federal Bureau of Investigation

Analysis -- Future Potential and Adoption

There have been several efforts related to publication of crime data. Only one of these, an effort by a commercial company, is aimed at open, public data publishing. Each of the various efforts each deserve some mention, but we believe there remains significant opportunity to develop a standard that is similar to the Open311 system in the sense that it combines both an API and a data structure standard.

SpotCrime Open Crime Standard

SpotCrime, an online aggregator of crime data, has developed a prototype for crime reporting standard known as the SpotCrime Open Crime Standard (SOCS). SpotCrime also offers Catapult, a free software product to export crime records, which reports data in this new standard. However, the effort is based on the private company and does not yet appear to be used by any departments. With the addition of the right partners, we believe it might provide a good starting point for a useful standard. We also believe it would be most useful if it was designed to combine both data structure and API, similar to the Open311 standard.

Additional Resources

UCR Crime Reports

The FBI facilitates the Uniform Crime Reports program through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which issues government-wide guidelines that “provide policy and procedural guidance to federal agencies for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by federal agencies. This is a standard in reporting crime data but additional standards (and open standards) on other public safety data would be beneficial to those that maintain and analyze public safety data.

Additional Resources

National Information Exchange Model (NIEM)

NIEM is a community standard led by the US Department of Justice. The standard is an outgrowth of two earlier justice-related standards efforts, the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative and initiatives by the Department of Homeland Security. NIEM is not aimed at publication of data to the public, but, rather, on the ability of different justice systems to interoperate. Further, its scope extends beyond crime reports to include arrests, property descriptions, emergency response and a host of other topics. The standard is now at version 3.0 and has been adopted by at least some jurisdictions in all 50 states. It is a very complex standard, however, and we do not believe it is appropriate as an open data standard aimed at publication to the general public.

Additional Resources

OGC Law Enforcement and Public Safety DWG

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has been gradually adding to the generic standards outlined above (see KML, GeoPackage, WMS, etc.) by developing domain-specific standards. One of these efforts is the Law Enforcement and Public Safety (LEAPS) Domain Working Group (DWG). The mission of the LEAPS DWG is to develop open geospatial standards for law enforcement, civil security and public safety. The working group includes representatives from several countries and is likely to generate standards with an international character. However, the group has yet to release any draft standards, and we do not currently believe its work will be relevant in the near future.

Additional Resources

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