Montana Cartographer Creates Detailed Crime Map of Hometown Streets, Missoula Map Possible Soon
Using modern technology, a Montana cartographer has created a beautiful interactive map of crime in his hometown of Bozeman. The map could radically change how denizens view their city, how homes are bought and sold, and the information may be spreading to other Montana cities soon.
"I just kind of did it for fun, believe it or not," said Gage Cartographics owner Josh Gage. "I was able to get a little over ten years of crime data from the city and county. I combined all of that into an interactive map which shows the area around Bozeman, and then it shows where every crime has occurred in those ten years."
The interesting thing for most viewers is that the map uses public information that is otherwise very difficult to appreciate. Crime statistics produced by the Montana Board of Crime Control have a lot of information and are accessible online, but they don't tell you which streets are hit the hardest, and they certainly don't pinpoint the crimes by geographical coordinates.
Gage said it would be tough to do a similar map for the whole state of Montana, because not all communities report crimes with geographical coordinates. Gage has reached out via email to law enforcement agencies in Missoula, Helena, and Billings in hopes of drawing up maps for those communities as well.
"In Bozeman, I was really fortunate because our county E-911 [enhanced 911] and the police department have a latitude and longitude associated with every reported crime," Gage said. "That makes it really easy for me to put it onto the map. Now that I've made the template, it would be pretty easy for me to take data from another city or another part of the state and apply it to the template I've already built."