Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Online Service Maps District Neighborhood Crime

Walk Score, an online neighborhood rating service, launched a new feature this month that maps out crime in major cities, including Washington, D.C. Founded in 2007, the online service rates neighborhoods in the United States, Canada and Australia based on walkability, or proximity to public transit, access to parks and public space, affordable housing and complete streets designed for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The new crime map feature will now grade neighborhoods on the amount of crime within the region, taking into account the severity of the crime and comparing the neighborhood to the city’s crime average. This information is produced for both personal and property crime.

“Our Crime Grade is the first crime rating that is accurate in walkable neighborhoods,” Walk Score Chief Technology Officer Matt Lerner said. “We compute an accurate per capita crime risk for each address.”

Lerner said that unlike conventional crime mapping, the Walk Score crime map produces an accurate perception of danger, reporting the total number of crimes without adjusting for per capita population.

Walk Score thus adjusts the amount of crime in the area for the population living there.

“Walkable neighborhoods are often safer than people think,” Lerner said. “Your per capita risk is lower when there are more people around.”

With the crime map, Walk Score enters an already established market featuring companies like Trulia, which launched its crime map in 2011 and does not use this per capita system, focusing instead on overall crime density.

“We want to show consumers what it is like to actually live somewhere,” Trulia spokesperson Erin Mackey said. “All of our maps give users a sense of what the neighborhood is all about, whether it is the crime rates, local school rating, as well as other local amenities.”

The Metropolitan Police Department also maintains its own crime map. Private crime mapping companies, like Walk Score and Trulia, use information from local police departments as well as from third-party crime reporting services like SpotCrime and CrimeReports.

“Trulia’s crime maps are formatted in line with the data they receive from the various bureaus,” Mackey said.

MPD could not be reached for comment.

Lerner said that he hoped people would take into account information from the walkability index and the crime map when making real estate decisions.

“Crime is one of the top concerns for people looking for a place to live,” Lerner said.

The crime map for the Georgetown neighborhood reveals below-average rates of personal and property crime. There has been an overall decrease in the number of crimes reported over the course of the past year, with theft remaining the most common offense.

Thomas Voreyer (COL ’16) pointed to information released by the Georgetown University Police Department as sufficient to keep him informed.

“The Public Safety Alert emails keep me well briefed on Georgetown and its surrounding areas, and so I can’t say I particularly care to read up on crime ratings of areas I am already familiar with,” he said.

Michael Whelan (COL ’16) agreed that the map seemed less relevant in the Georgetown area, as he tends to value location over crime rates when making off-campus living arrangements as an upperclassmen.

“I value location above all else when choosing where to live,” he said. “I’d even be willing to live in a slightly more dangerous neighborhood if it meant easier access to shops and transportation.”

According to Walk Score, Georgetown is the 25th most walkable neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The crime map named Dupont Circle as the most walkable neighborhood in the District.

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