A new tool mapping crimes in Toronto is now available to the public via the Toronto Police website.
The TPS Maps and Data portal (maps.tps.on.ca) has been designed to provide mapping and crime information in an interactive tool that allows users to view a map of the city, showing one or all major crime indicators for each week. There is also a separate map showing all shooting and homicides.
The crime maps do not show exact locations of the occurrences. To protect privacy, these pinpoint locations are randomized to offset the exact location of the offence and no personal information is included. Hyperlinks to local Divisions and Crime Stoppers as a quick reference so the public can help solve these crimes. The maps are only updated weekly to keep the site functioning quickly.
“We have been posting this information in static maps for years. Now we have the technology to effectively share this information widely and connect various information sources such as news releases into a mapping tool,” said Ian Williams, Acting Manager of Business Intelligence and Analytics.
Moving forward, the portal will also include other geospatial information, statistical requests, story maps of events and allow for links to news releases.
“This initial release highlights our continued efforts to streamline and standardize reporting internally and externally,” Williams said.
Updates to the site will be sent via Twitter@TPS_Maps_Stats
Williams said providing the public with the data allows people to stay connected and up-to-date with their communities and the Toronto Police Service.
“We hope it will increase public safety by making people more aware of events and increase the likelihood they’ll report what they’ve seen to police that may relate to the case,” he said.
“As an isolated incident, if I saw someone running away from a house last night carrying a duffel bag as I got off the TTC bus, I might not report it,” he said. “However, if I saw on the crime map a break-and-enter occurred around that time and near the location, I may call police with the information.”
He also said that having the opportunity to see the volume of events that are reported to Toronto Police gives the public an idea of what police officers encounter on a daily or weekly basis.
“To understand the events and where they’re taking place, and to understand the volume and nature of what Toronto Police are responding to on a weekly basis, is important,” Williams said. “When people have more information about their neighbourhoods, they are more likely to be engaged.”