New feature: Crimes along a route

Written by Adrian Holovaty on August 16, 2005

I've added a Crimes along a route page to It lets you draw a route on the map of Chicago and displays crimes that have been reported along that route.

Say you walk home from the El station every day at around 7 p.m. Using this feature, you can draw your route, select a time range (7 to 8 p.m., perhaps) and narrow down crimes by crime type -- and the site will tell you which crimes happened near that route.

You can bookmark any route (example), so you don't have to redraw it each time you visit the site. For this feature, I was inspired by the excellent Gmaps Pedometer.

I'd like to add RSS feeds for a particular route, but I fear that would put way too much of a load on the database. That feature (and a bunch of others) will have to wait until I have the finances to get a faster server -- preferably more than one.


Posted by Mark Hamilton on August 17, 2005 at 3:09 a.m.:

Mind blown, once again. I am in awe not so much of your techie skills but of the vision to see these possibilities.

Posted by tsal on August 26, 2005 at 11:54 a.m.:

Well heck, I had no idea you were the developer. I actually used it while my wife was up in Chicago recently, told her which neighborhoods to avoid. :)

Any plans to add some AJAX support to Django? Would be an interesting framework, to say the least.

Posted by John Jones on August 31, 2005 at 9:25 p.m.:

This is a little off-topic, but might interest some of the readers here...

I have an idea to use Google Maps to help out with future disasters like the one currently unfolding in New Orleans. I've seen dozens of blogs and forums where people have desperately sought information on relatives at a particular address. The lists of addresses and pleas are basically worthless because there is no central location for the authorities to post information on who has been rescued and no central place for friends and neighbors to leave requests for the authorities. And it's unlikely that the rescue authorities have the time to wade through dozens of forums looking for addresses to check out.

I use Google maps often and it occurred to me that a Google map hack like this site might be the solution. Ideally, people could post notes on a map of a city on top of the houses of interest. Each comment would be a thread similar to comments on a blog. Each thread would be indicated by a small icon on a Google map background. General comments would be open to the public. Authorities (with password access) could leave not only spot comments, but could also draw a line around an area and leave area-wide notes (such as "This area has been cleared...").

The project would need an easy domain name and a very robust hosting service because it would get hammered right after a disaster.

It's too late for this disaster, but a map-based central information exchange would be very useful in any sort of wide-spread disaster (fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes).

What do you think? I'm not a programmer, so please pass this idea on to any Google map programmers that might be interested.


John Jones

Posted by visitor on September 3, 2005 at 1:07 p.m.:


I thought this was a great idea that someone would have to implement sometime. So, when searching to see if there was anything like this out there, I found your comment here. Then today, I ran across a Wired article about "" where someone has just created such a system this week. (article:,2904,68743,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1

Amazing...I thought it would take longer. The web site's name is "" --perhaps it could have a more intuitive name like you suggest above.

Posted by Chris on September 14, 2005 at midnight:

Though it is important to remain safe while in Chicago, this is a great and safe city!! I do not believe this information should be used to find out WHICH NHOODS TO AVOID. If you have to do that......stay in the burbs!. Thanks

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