We always wonder if our neighbourhoods are safe from crime but are really never sure. Until now there has been little data released about crime by neighbourhood in Toronto, Canada. Recently the Toronto Police released a map of violent crime stats to the Toronto Star, which included gun shootings and homicides. While a statistician could pick apart the validity and lack of specific detail of these stats, for me they are interesting nonetheless. For home owners, find your neighbourhood and see the relative crime rate. For those thinking about buying a house, take a look at crime in prospective neighbourhoods before you buy.
Map of Toronto by Violent Crime, shootings and Homicides. Layered with details from Google Maps.
The original map had very little detail in terms of street names, which made it difficult to find your exact house location. I have added a layer of Google map underneath so you have more landmarks to guide you. Landmarks such as the TTC subway, major streets such as Yonge Street and highways such as the 404 and the Gardner, parks and waterways were all missing, making the map more difficult to use than it should have been. Because the map is so large already I could not clearly include street names. Toronto is quite large.
Field Information Report (FIR) cards are filled out by police on people they randomly stop. Police use this as intelligence gathering.
Officers stop and question people and document who they are with on Field Information Report cards. Personal details, including physical descriptions, are then entered into a huge database, which officers can search later in the aftermath of crimes. More than a million individuals have been documented in the past three years; the number of cards filled out jumped 18 per cent between 2008 and 2011.
Large map, 2.8MB, is large but the detail is required.
The Toronto Star also published an interesting map of Total Criminal Charges mapped by patrol zone, but put no street names or landmarks on the map. It was difficult for me to find my neighbourhood without street names. This map displayed criminal charges from 2009 and 2010.
Again I have superimosed a Google map of Toronto on top of the Toronto Star map, making it much easier to find your neighbourhood.
Toronto, Canada, Criminal Charges by area made by police, 2009-2010, TorStar
Large Map, Criminal Charges by Toronto Police, 2009-2010, 2MB. Map is hard to read because it is large and Toronto is large in population.
The Criminal Charges map should, in general, correlate with the violent crime map. Where there is higher crime there should be higher criminal charges. A lower violent crime area with higher criminal charges might mean police are overzealous in their efforts, but who can definitively say.