Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

LAPD's Bratton blames vendors for mapping errors

July 9, 2009 |  5:19 pm

Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton conceded today that the LAPD’s crime map had significant omissions but said it will stay online while the problems, first identified by The Times, are corrected.

Bratton -- speaking at a news conference to announce a gang crackdown --  said despite significant omissions the fraction of crimes that are plotted on the map are accurate. He said he believed it remains a valuable public service despite the missing information.

The Times found that nearly 40% of the crimes reported in official LAPD summaries did not appear on the publicly-available crime map at lapdcrimemaps.org.

Bratton, who was asked several questions about the mapping errors by reporters, blamed the problems on the private vendors hired to develop the site.

Thanking The Times for its discovery, Bratton said, “I have no issue with The Times. I have an issue with the vendor.”

He said the vendors, LightRay Productions and PSOMAS, are working on the problems “full time” and would fix them at no cost to the city.

Bratton drew a clear distinction between the public map, which he continued to describe as one of the best in the United States, and the internal CompStat reports used to evaluate trends and guide deployment, which he insisted are of the highest integrity.

“At no time was the public safety jeopardized,” he said.

Lapdgraphic The Times discovered the magnitude of the problem while developing its own online map to display LAPD data. While the department’s official crime tally recorded more than 52,000 serious crimes from Jan. 1 through June 13 of this year, the public mapping site contained fewer than 33,000 for the same period.

As a result of the article about the errors, Bratton said today that he has asked City Atty. Carmen Trutanich to review the terms of the release of electronic crime data to The Times and decide whether the department should continue to provide the information to The Times and other outlets.

Bratton expressed concern that demands for equal access to the information could cause an expensive burden on the department’s resources.

He was worried, he said, that he’d have to give it to anyone “in his underwear in a basement somewhere.”

-- Ben Welsh and Doug Smith reporting from LAPD's Metropolitan Dispatch Center

Related story: LAPD's public database omits nearly 40% of this year's crimes

Lapdstatement  Read the LAPD news release: LAPD Crime Maps