Thursday, September 27, 2012

New tool to monitor police dispatch calls for neighborhood, via Twitter

A sample of the feed from Sept. 27
UPDATE: The Twitter data we used here via the Seattle Police Department is now featured on the front page of the New York Times. You can read their take on how this will benefit Seattle neighborhoods here.

The City of Seattle has won a number of awards for the open data set it offers to residents. Information is usually easily available via our tech savvy city government —assuming one is also tech savvy.

Now the Seattle Police Department has launched a tool that uses Twitter to disseminate information about Seattle Police dispatch calls.

There is a bit of a delay but most of the calls we have seen posted to Twitter are within one hour of the initial 911 call.

From the Tweets by Beat website:

In order to protect crime victims, officers, and the integrity of investigations, calls will display one hour after a dispatcher sends the call to an officer. The feeds also do not include information about domestic violence calls, sexual assaults, and other certain types of crimes. 

Douglas Park Cooperative has taken the information coming from the Seattle Police Department dispatch and created a custom feed for our own neighborhood that will be featured on the right column of our website.

The feed featured on DPC is for Lincoln 1 sector, the area north of 125th and east of Interstate 5.

So next time you see flashing police lights down the street all you have to do is come to our homepage to figure out what is going on. Also on our right column is a link to monitor Seattle Fire Department dispatch and yet another link to listen to a live police and fire scanner for Seattle.

Feeds for other neighborhoods can easily be monitored by going to the Tweets by Beat website and searching for a feed by address.

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