Another good/useful thing to come out of Google.
I have come across quite a few applications of Google Maps - some of which I thought were pretty useful, and some pretty banal - but I had not come across one quite like this. It's a new one to me, and potentially of very real use to keep citizens informed: Searchable Map of 2009 & 2010 Misconduct Incidents
I saw this map after following links in a post in my Google Reader (feed aggregator): Police Misconduct Map Shows Who's Been Thin-Blue-Brutalized Near You
, where it talks about the map and its history of development: (and to see all the links, go to the actual post)
Police Misconduct Map Shows Who's Been Thin-Blue-Brutalized Near You
J.D. Tuccille - June 1, 2012
I don't know about you, but I actually do sometimes wake up in the morning and think to myself, "I wonder who the local cops beat the crap out of yesterday?" Yeah, I'm a real treat before my coffee. Well, we won't get that kind of real-time reporting on police brutality until cops start overtly boasting of their misdeeds — and Arizona's own Sheriff Joe gets a little closer every day — but we can now see incidents of misbehavior near us by checking an interactive map that plots reported incidents and links to further information guaranteed to tighten your sphincter every time you see flashing lights in the rearview mirror.
See what's happening near you! The National Police Misconduct Reporting Project is a new project of the Cato Institute, which took over from Injustice Everywhere when David Packman ran out of the personal bandwidth to keep his very valuable one-man site going (the old URL now redirects to the new one). Drawing on Cato's depth of resources, Tim Lynch created the map mentioned above by merging incidents compiled in 2009 and 2010 by David Packman into Google Maps. It's not an exhaustive representation of bad-cop, no-doughnut phenomena — stuff slips through the cracks — but it's a helpful, and chilling, representation of the range and distribution of incidents. It's especially chilling if you live in one of those areas where the little red dots cluster so tightly that you have to really zoom in to distinguish them. Lynch helpfully offers the word "rape" as a search term to ease your perusal.
Remember: flashing lights in the rearview mirror!
Close to home, for me, I found a Flagstaff officer who hit his girlfriend at the Country Thunder country-western concert (it's sort of like Lilith Fair, but with lots and lots of pickup trucks) and a Yavapai County sheriff's deputy who assaulted his girlfriend's nine-year-old daughter.
Find the map here
The map seems strange to me - a little bit scary - because, in New Zealand (where I live at present), the country's total population is only about 4.4 million (World Bank stats., 2010), with no big cities to speak of and Auckland being the largest at around 401,500 souls (per aucklandcity.govt.nz
). The police are thus generally not stretched too
thinly. They also seem to be well-trained, competent and effective. So police brutality/crime/corruption is apparently relatively infrequent and not really a major problem.
However, I do think it could be a useful civil information tool to have a similar map for NZ - or for any country for that matter.
Another Google Maps application that I like (an one which I occasionally use) is to map my cycle routes. Not really useful per se
, but potentially interesting/informative nonetheless.