December 19th, 2007 | Published in Google Enterprise
I recently reviewed an interesting case study about CrimeReports.com, a website that makes crime data from local law enforcement agencies available on the internet using Google Maps. CrimeReports.com is a partnership between a company called Public Engines and local police departments across the country -- from San Jose, CA to Washington, DC. These police departments wanted to make information about neighborhood safety directly available to the public, but did not have the resources to set this up themselves. Enter Public Engines, who built a service using the Google Maps API they are making available at a low cost to any interested police department.
In the past, local crime information could be difficult for citizens to find -- they could read police blotters in local newspapers or watch the evening news -- but it wasn't easy to see historical data or understand trends. By providing the data in a rich, visual interface, plus letting citizens get alerts if something new happens in their neighborhood -- CrimeReports.com makes information accessible to citizens in a much more useful way. If want to learn more, read the full case study.
The advent of new Internet technologies like blogs, wikis, & RSS makes it easier than ever for government to share information directly with the citizens they serve, without the need for any intermediaries. This sort of direct communication can be extremely valuable in letting citizens know what government officials are doing in their community. We're always on the look-out for other good examples of this; if you know of any, please share.