Willem Ellis heard gunfire while walking his dog a few weeks ago. When trying to track his 911 report on the Tulsa Police Department's website, he realized he knows a better way to track crime in the area.
He developed CrimeStream. It takes data from the city's webpage that tracks recent emergency calls requiring police, firefighters or medics and overlays them onto an easy to read map.
"That data I'll be able to run all kinds of analytics on it and set up an alert system," Ellis said.
He also stores the information in database that could help track trend long term. He also hopes to add features including email alerts that allow users to sign up to be notified when significant activities are reported in their areas. The site only lists 911 calls that the police department makes publicly available. The TPD site indicates it omits reports that create privacy concerns or may put officers at risk.
"It'd be very useful to know if there's a wanted individual in your area right now," he said.
Ellis said his technocratic solution is something that he hopes can help people in the area, and possibly set an example for other developers to use their skills for the common good, especially when local governments face budget problems and obstacles for finding these solutions on their own.
"I think that's where the open-source community can come in and work with law enforcement to set up systems like this at a relatively cheap cost but that have enormous impact on public safety."
Take a look at CrimeStream in action.
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