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LAPD adopts The Times' crime map

October 1, 2010 |  6:08 pm

Los Angeles Police Department officials have abandoned the crime map the department once proudly produced, opting instead to direct visitors to the Los Angeles Times, which this week launched its own crime map and database.

For years, the LAPD crime map was a source of pride for the department. Officials bragged about the heavy Web traffic the map drew and pointed to it as evidence of the department’s commitment to keeping the public informed about crime in their neighborhoods.

That sentiment soured considerably last year when Times researchers discovered the company the LAPD was paying to build and maintain the map had made widespread mistakes.

For example, a Times review revealed that the vendor's software program had taken more than 1,300 crimes with irregular addresses and wrongly located them at City Hall -- making the Civic Center appear to be the city's most dangerous spot. The vendor reportedly fixed the problems and the home page for the LAPD’s website continued to feature a link to the map. In recent days, however, that link was rerouted to a page containing a message that informs visitors the LAPD is rebuilding its crime map and directs them to the L.A. Times website.

As of Friday afternoon, the department’s map was still functioning. It is unclear if or when it will be shut down. On Wednesday, The Times debuted “Crime L.A.,” a database and crime-mapping program that contains information on all serious crimes recorded by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

It allows users to analyze crime statistics, search historic crime patterns and receive alerts when several crimes occur in an area over a short period of time.

LAPD Capt. Sean Malinowski said the department has plans to team with the Sheriff’s Department and an outside group to produce an online crime map that, like the Times’ maps, will include crime data from both agencies. Technical problems have hampered the effort and the launch of the new site is at least a few months away, he said.

-- Joel Rubin

Crime LA