Okanagan man makes crime map for Kelowna, Vernon | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan man makes crime map for Kelowna, Vernon

A crime map has been created by a local man in hopes that light will be shone on dark areas.
Image Credit: Special K map
February 25, 2020 - 3:00 PM

An Okanagan resident has compiled a map he thinks will “shed a little light on the dark places in our cities.”

Using CrimeStoppers data, police reports and public complaints, the person who will only be identified as the pseudonym Hugo Weaving, said he’s approximated where crimes occurred and plotted them onto a map of Kelowna and another one in Vernon. It’s important to note the alleged crimes have not been verified by an official source.

The aim, he said, is simply to start creating some community involvement.

“Criminals thrive on anonymity and public apathy,” the creator of the map said.

“As you can tell, the police are overwhelmed and need our help. Apps such as Lightcatch are likely going to play a critical role in the future. For now, every little bit helps.”

He created a crime map in Vernon a couple of weeks ago and Kelowna’s was released this weekend and it's been widely shared across local crime watching social media groups.

In one night he said he had nearly 2,600 views. By mid afternoon Monday it was somewhere around 10,000.

Maps of these kinds are used around the globe for varying purposes.

The data within can include number of crimes, types and locations of past arrests, public reports of crime, requests for police assistance and even to generate real-time indicators of potential crime.

Some employ models that assign and adjust weights to different variables like location, assess data for patterns and leading indicators and produce predictive maps showing where crime is most likely to occur. These types are not without controversy when used by police.

A sophisticated program called PredPol is used to varying degrees by 50 police forces across the United States although concerns about how it builds biases have been raised.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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