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Tutorial on Finding Crime Statistics


Tutorial on Finding Crime Statistics


by Sarah Barton, FASTEN Editorial Staff, 2006


Many cities provide online crime statistics for their neighborhoods.  Often these online statistics are available only for the past 30 to 90 days.  The online data that are available generally are incidents that have been reported to the police department.  Although smaller cities are less likely to provide such information online, they may have a public information officer who will be able to provide helpful data. 


Here are some suggestions to help you locate crime statistics in your area.


First, go to the website of the police department in the area in which you are interested.  Often, the police department’s home page will provide a link for “crime statistics” or “crime rates.”  Some police departments will have a “crimemapper” or other similar icon that is a link to the department’s online crime statistics.


Once you get to the crime statistics page, you may be able to narrow your search.  Some police departments allow you to perform a search by entering a specific neighborhood, intersection or landmark.  You may be able to narrow the search by selecting “within ¼ of a mile” or “within ½ of a mile.” 


Other police departments already have statistics broken down by “districts” or “beats,” and you may select the district or beat in which your neighborhood is located to obtain more specific data.


If the data you need is not provided online, you may be able to obtain it by calling or submitting a written request to the police department’s crime analysis unit or public information officer.  If the contact information is not provided on the police department’s website, send an inquiry to the general “contact us” email most departments provide.  Ask for the contact information for the individual who can provide neighborhood crime statistics.  Then you can submit your request directly to the appropriate person.


If you are interested in obtaining crime statistics for your city as a whole, in addition to contacting your local police department, you can obtain this information from the FBI’s Uniform Crimes Reporting site.  Once you get to the FBI’s site, go to the bottom left hand side of the page and click on “How many crimes were reported in my city in 2005? Table 8.”  Once you get to Table 8, click on the link for your state.  Then, a table including offenses known to law enforcement will list the cities in alphabetical order, their populations, and numbers of crimes committed broken down by type of crime.  You may scroll down the table to find the city in which you are interested.


Your state’s attorney general’s office or state bureau of investigation may provide additional crime statistics by city online or you may contact them to find out who is the appropriate person to whom you should submit a request.


Information regarding the number of offenders released into a specific city may be available through your state’s Department of Corrections.  The Department of Corrections also may have data regarding the last known addresses of its prison population, so that the number of prisoners coming from a specific city or county may be available.  This information is not always available online and may have to be obtained through a call or written request to the department of corrections.