No Crime Data for You! What are Charlottesville and Albemarle Afraid of?

From the HooK: (bolding mine)

Drane, an economics/philosophy major who graduated from the University of Virginia in 1992, now lives in Baltimore, which he says has the second-highest per capita crime rate of any city in the United States. “That’s kind of where my interest in tracking crime came,” he says. “I live in the city and want my family safe.”

He launched and here yesterday, shortly after Charlottesville police declined to provide him with the daily incident report it emails to local media. “The logic was, you have ads on your site and we’re not going to share,” relates Drane, who notes that the Hook, which receives the daily report, has ads on its website. He says city police plan to launch their own crime-tracking site on Google Maps.

“We’re going to keep it up forever,” he says. “Data is so cheap.” That’s why he’s still pondering why Charlottesville police won’t put him on its distribution. “There’s no actual cost to add us to the email list,” he muses. Albemarle County Police Department does not make its daily incident reports available to the media or public.

The irony? Most local papers also run ads both in print and online, including the one that ran this story he points out.

Data storage is cheap – why not have a private individual provide a service – at no cost to government?

How safe is this area? Is one of the top 5 questions home buyers ask – and one that I as a Realtor cannot answer and you can see Charlottesville/Albemarle area rescue calls live.

I’d like to hear an explanation from the County and City as to why they won’t release this information. Why incur the cost of bad PR and potential FOIA requests? Just release the public’s information!

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  1. Jennifer Mills October 10, 2008 at 15:27

    Here in Campbell & Bedford counties – we don’t have this either! I would like to, though

  2. Jim Duncan October 10, 2008 at 20:35

    It just strikes me as odd. Crime data is one of the most important things for my clients to know, and when an enterprising person seeks to provide a solution, government should not be a hindrance to the solution.

    The PDF stuff – for both the City and County – is frustrating.

    And you should know that I’m not techie enough to be able to run a cron job. 🙂

  3. Waldo Jaquith October 11, 2008 at 00:56

    In which case getting machine-readable crime data isn’t something you’re looking for, so it’s moot. 🙂


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