Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sifting crime data for information you can use

For a deeper look at community-specific crime trends, the St. Petersburg Times used computer analysis to fuse neighborhood boundaries with 2009 crime statistics from the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Here's how we did it.

Each law enforcement agency divides areas into hundreds of "grids" for internal crime analysis and to effectively distribute its workforce. In recent months, the Times began requesting their official data formatted in a way that showed us which crimes took place in each grid.

We then obtained maps showing common community boundaries from government Web sites. For the city of Tampa, we used a map of neighborhood associations available on the city's Geographic Information Systems downloads page. For unincorporated Hillsborough, we used the most recent U.S. Census map file for the area, which is available from the Florida Geographic Data Library.

Software called ArcGIS helped merge the neighborhood and grid data. From there, we determined which grids corresponded with which neighborhoods. In many cases — especially the city of Tampa — the grids and neighborhood boundaries did not overlap exactly. Grids often straddled more than one neighborhood or area. In those instances, we combined areas with adjoining communities to give readers a feel for crime in their general region.

The numbers for each community or area were then crunched to reveal the neighborhood-level statistics.

Go to links.tampabay.com to download the data we used and to read all of the resulting stories about crime in Tampa and Hillsborough County. There, you can also find a complete list of the grids inside each Tampa neighborhood. For instance, Ballast Point in South Tampa contains police grids 189, 193 and 198. (Because of the nature of the county grid system, such a list is not available for unincorporated Hillsborough.)

Darla Cameron can be reached at (727) 893-8351 or at dcameron@sptimes.com.

Sifting crime data for information you can use 04/08/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 8, 2010 4:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Actor John Heard dies at age 72

    Blogs

    John Heard, who played so many roles in the '80s but was probably best known as the dad in the Home Alone movies, has died, according to media reports. He was 72.

  2. Linkin Park cancel tour, including Tampa concert, after death of singer Chester Bennington

    Blogs

    This news is not a surprise, but it is now official: Linkin Park has canceled their upcoming North American tour following this week's death of singer Chester Bennington.

    Linkin Park's Chester Bennington
  3. Nurse backs Kriseman in St. Pete mayor's race

    Blogs

    Council member Karl Nurse has endorsed Mayor Rick Kriseman.

    St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman, left, is seen with Karl Nurse in the combination of two images.
  4. Spring Hill woman, 24, dies when car hits tree in Pasco County

    Accidents

    LAND O' LAKES — A 24-year-old woman died early Saturday morning after her Hyundai Elantra hit a tree, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  5. Florida Insiders: We'll find out soon whether Adam Putnam has a glass jaw

    Blogs

    This month's Florida Insider Poll questions: Who would be the strongest Democratic/Republican nominee for governor? Whom do you expect will win the Democratic/Republican gubernatorial nomination? Which party …

    Florida Insider polls are unscientific surveys of Florida political operatives, money-raisers, lobbyists, political scientists, recovering journalists, activists, and the like