Maryland Council on Open Data- SpotCrime Presentation

Thank you members of the committee for allowing me to speak today.

I started SpotCrime 8 years ago shortly after moving to Baltimore. As a transplant, I was aware of the crime reading the papers, but not aware of their locations because I was unfamiliar with the city.

Since then, Spotcrime has grown to the most visited public facing crime mapping website in the world. We are arguably the largest crime alerting system in the US by providing over 140 million email alerts annually.

I’ve been fortunate to accomplish this feat for two main reasons. The move towards transparency by many municipalities and police agencies around the country, and the drastic reduction in computing costs and hosting over the last 10 years.

Our journey has not been without headwinds, and SpotCrime is only able to access a fraction of the public crime data in the US.

As a state, Maryland’s crime data transparency ranks high in relation to many other states. Recent open data legislation has been instrumental in increasing access.

What I’d like to do for the next few minutes is share a success and some troubles we are having. I’d also like to explain how I see procurement and vendor control to be key issues in creating open data success in the future. And how full agency participation in an open data standard could improve internal quality of policing and reporting.

As provided in the presentation, we’ve listed all the agencies we have been able to identify that provide some type of open data and their frequency.

One problem, as you see from the spreadsheet, each agency uses different technologies and different approaches to what is released and when.

One success as result of the recent legislation is that we are now receiving data again from Anne Arundel County. After a two year hiatus of providing data, they were very responsive to our request earlier this year and now provide data in a machine readable format on a weekly basis. I think it is important to note that when the data went down, SpotCrime reached out almost quarterly to check up on the data feed. It wasn’t until the legislation had passed that were were able to get data.

Unfortunately, we were not so successful with the City of Frederick. Each request has been met with a different response, and quality of response has declined with each requests. And finally, charges were added to each subsequent request.

Specifically, we were first provided with an excel file, then a pdf and then a pdf that was spread over two pages. When we inquired about the changes, the response was that “we do not want (to allow) the data manipulated in a excel spreadsheet”.

But my making the data more difficult to process, the time and error rate goes up. The chance the data is incorrectly manipulated goes up, not down.

This is doubly confounding because the crime mapping vendor the city has employed for years sells the data in spreadsheet format to anyone who pays. However, local media and press are restricted. So, you have a marketing companies around the country getting full access and the Frederick News Post getting limited or no access.

For the City of Frederick, the quality of responses and data have only partially improved since the new legislation. We are however getting data. It is at a snail’s pace and increasingly complex format. We don’t knows what new format will be invented on our next request.

In general, we’ve found over the years that many police agencies end up with records systems that don’t have basic functionality of simple reporting. Recently, we reached out to the city of Denton, TX. They were very willing to provide a public data feed, but upon inquiry found that their vendor had access locked up. This particular vendor has a billion dollar enterprise selling risk management solutions to industry and has an incentive to make the data less public and their product more valuable.

In some cases the vendors offer free software in exchange for control over the data. The vendor gets to limit access to the public and the press while selling enhanced products to their commercial clients. What seemed like a good deal for the agency actually increases long term costs and harms the public by restricting access to vital crime data.

Thankfully, we are seeing sophisticated larger agencies avoid this pitfall by retaining control over their data. If you look across the US, the less technically competent agencies end up taking the free software deal without factoring the public costs of limited access. For the most part, these agencies are smaller and more rural.

From a State perspective, we’d like to see standardization of the data for public consumption. I believe that this will influence internal reporting through quality and speed for the whole state. I understand that State Police have done a great job in coordinating the state agencies data, however, if we can get the public to get near real time, high quality crime data, then it is likely the State will better tactical intelligence for fighting crime.

By improving public facing crime data, we will likely have the positive unintended consequence of better internal reporting.

Each agency does not need to buy the same database product, but at a minimum, they should control their public feed and have a standard output.

My suggestion for future open data success is to incentivize software and database procurement that provides simple export and reporting features for public consumption.

Specifically, we suggest that all future GOCCP grants for technology with databases require the technology to meet the State’s open access standards.

Colin Drane


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Bank Robbery US Bank at 425 Ludlow Ave Cincinnati

At approximately 2PM, Cincinnati Police District Five units were dispatched to 425 Ludlow Ave for a report of a robbery at US Bank. Two black male suspects entered the bank and both displayed hand guns to the teller demanding US Currency. The first suspect was wearing a black hooded jacket, dark sweat pants and a black mask and white gym shoes. The second suspect was wearing a white hooded jacket, a black mask and black pants. Both suspects exited the south entrance and entered a small white compact car with Kentucky plates and dark tinted windows. Taken was an undetermined amount of US Currency.

See attachment:


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Sixth District Listerserv Message Robbery Prevention Tips

Guarding Against Robbery and Assault

Robbery and assault are serious crimes. While money is often the motivation, these incidents are considered crimes of violence because they involve the threat or actual use of physical violence. The basic rules of prevention are to be sensible and to be alert. The following tips will also help reduce the risk of robbery or assault.

Personal Safety Tips on the Street

  • If possible, don’t walk alone during late-night hours. Walk in groups whenever you can—there is always safety in numbers.
  • Let a family member or friend know your destination and your estimated time of arrival or return. That way, the police can be notified as quickly as possible if there is a problem.
  • Stay in well-lit areas as much as possible. Avoid alleys, vacant lots, wooded areas, and other short-cuts or secluded areas. They are usually not well-lit or heavily traveled.
  • Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. Walk close to the curb, avoiding doorways, bushes, and other potential hiding places.
  • If you have to walk in the street, walk facing traffic. A person walking with traffic can be followed, forced into a car, and abducted more easily than a person walking against traffic.
  • Walk confidently, directly, and at a steady pace. Don’t stop to talk to strangers.
  • Wear clothing and shoes that give you freedom of movement. And don’t burden yourself with too many packages or items.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. If you are wearing headphones, don’t turn up the volume so high that you cannot hear outside noises.
  • Never hitchhike or accept rides from strangers.
  • Report any suspicious activity or person immediately to the Metropolitan Police Department at 9-1-1.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of cash, or displaying expensive jewelry in public.

Basic Street Smarts

  • Wherever you are—on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving, waiting for a bus or subway—stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings.
  • Send the message that you’re calm, confident, and know where you’re going.
  • Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave.
  • Know the neighborhoods where you live and work.
  • Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, and restaurants, or stores that are open late.

If Someone Tries to Rob You

  • Don’t resist. Give up your property—don’t give up your life.
  • Report the crime to the police. Try to describe the attacker accurately. Your actions can help prevent others from becoming victims.

Self defense measures are most effective when applied as preventive steps—avoiding the crime in the first place.

These measures include running away, hiding, screaming, and raising an alarm—remember, more people will respond to someone yelling "Fire" than they will to "Help!"”

Safety in Your Vehicle

The crime of “carjacking” – which is stealing a car by force – captures headlines across the country. Statistically speaking, however, your chances of being a victim of carjacking are very slim, and taking preventive measures can reduce that risk even more.

  • If the carjacker threatens you with a gun or other weapon, give up your car. Don’t argue. Your life is definitely worth more than a car.
  • Get away from the area as quickly as possible.
  • Try to remember what the carjacker looked like—sex, race, age, hair and eye color, special features, clothes.
  • Report the crime immediately to the police.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Safety Tips

  • Try to use machines you are familiar with, and try to use terminals located in banks rather than independent terminals.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Look around before conducting a transaction. If you see anyone or anything suspicious, cancel your transaction and go to another ATM.
  • If you must use an ATM after hours, make sure it’s well-lit.
  • Never walk away from an ATM with cash still in hand. If you are going to count your money, do so at the ATM.
  • When making an ATM transaction from your car, be aware of your surroundings. Keep your eyes and ears open, and keep car doors locked.

Preventing Assaults

Assaults are basically fights carried out with or without a weapon at home or in a public space, between strangers, (frequently) among friends, acquaintances, or loved ones.

The most serious assaults are known as "aggravated assaults," "assaults with a deadly weapon," or "assaults with intent to kill."

Less serious offenses are called "simple assaults." In many cases, simple assaults turn into more serious assaults or even homicides, if the initial argument or fight is not scaled back or resolved quickly.

While some assaults are unavoidable, use the following tips to make sure simple arguments do not turn violent or deadly:

  • If you are involved in a heated argument that appears to be turning violent, walk away. If you stay and fight "to prove something," you will only demonstrate poor judgment in almost every instance.
  • Never carry a firearm, knife, or other illegal weapon. A weapon will definitely escalate the situation, and it could ultimately be used to harm innocent people or yourself.
  • Avoid excessive drinking, or if you have been drinking, recognize its impact on your judgment. Alcohol is a contributing factor in many assaults.
  • If you see an assault in progress, dial 9-1-1 immediately to alert the police. Do not jump into the fray, unless it is a last resort to prevent more serious injury.

Lieutenant A. Charland

Metropolitan Police Department

Sixth District

100 42nd Street, NE

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On 04/08/2014, Andrew Lemke (dob 8/19/1992) was arrested for three counts of Indecent Exposure after Gilbert Police received a call of a male person exposing himself to juveniles in the area of the Coronado Ranch neighborhood in Gilbert. Mr. Lemke was a substitute teacher with several East Valley school districts.

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Town of Gilbert


Indecent Exposure Arrest


Gilbert, Ariz. – On 04/08/2014, Andrew Lemke (dob 8/19/1992) was arrested for three counts of Indecent Exposure after Gilbert Police received a call of a male person exposing himself to juveniles in the area of the Coronado Ranch neighborhood in Gilbert. Mr. Lemke was a substitute teacher with several East Valley school districts. Lemke has since been dismissed from the District. Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact the Gilbert Police Department at (480) 503-6500. This is an ongoing investigation and there are no further details about this case at this time.


Contact Information:
Jesse Sanger
Sergeant, Public Information Office
Gilbert Police Department
Office 480-788-3252

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Dover Police Announce Charges Against Serial “Rat” Burglar 4-9-15

Dover Police Department posted: "The Dover Police Department is announcing that charges have been filed in a series of eighteen commercial burglaries that occurred between September 14th, 2014 and February 5, 2015. During the investigation it was learned that the Prince George’s County "

New post on City of Dover Police Department

Dover Police Announce Charges Against Serial “Rat” Burglar 4-9-15

by Dover Police Department

The Dover Police Department is announcing that charges have been filed in a series of eighteen commercial burglaries that occurred between September 14th, 2014 and February 5, 2015. During the investigation it was learned that the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department had a series of burglaries that were similar in nature to the eighteen committed in Dover. A meeting was arranged between the various jurisdictions in Maryland and Delaware, where each agency was able to fill a timeline with the burglaries they were investigating and determined that they were dealing with a multi-jurisdictional serial burglar. Within a few days of the meeting, Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department developed Thomas Jenkins (49) as a suspect after locating a vehicle at the rear of a building that had been burglarized. The investigative efforts of the Dover Police Department and Prince George’s County Sheriff’s helped in locating the suspects vehicle, and enabled officers to monitor Jenkins movements over a period of time. On March 9th, Prince George’s County Sheriff’s observed Thomas Jenkins at a commercial business, cutting a hole in the roof and entering through it. When Jenkins fled the business, Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department quickly took him into custody. Jenkins was found in possession of .45 caliber handgun that was stolen from a business in Delaware State Police Troop 9 jurisdiction. A search of Jenkins vehicle revealed an additional .45 caliber handgun stolen from the same business. As a result of the collective efforts of the Dover Police Department, Prince Georges County Sheriff’s Department, Delaware State Police Department, and others, Thomas Jenkins will be charged in the eighteen commercial burglaries that occurred in Dover, Delaware. Jenkins is currently being held by Maryland authorities and faces 72 charges from the Dover Police Department including the following:
-Wearing a Disguise During Commission of a Felony (4 counts)
-Third Degree Burglary (18 counts)
-Possession of Burglary Tools (18 counts)
-Theft Under $1,5000 (14 counts)
-Criminal Mischief (18 total counts/2 Felony Level)

Thomas Jenkins was charged with the burglaries at the following locations:
-Maple Dale Country Club
-Manlove Auto Parts
-Sovereign Properties
-Morgan Properties
-U and I Builders
-AMCO Check Cashing
-Colonial Investment
-1st Capital Mortgage
-Advantage Travel
-Ancient Way Massage
-Tranquil Spirit Massage/Spa
-Christopher Asay Massage
-Morgan Communities
-Vincenzo’s Reastaurant
-Happy Fortune Chinese Restaurant
-Happy 13 Liquors
-Del-One Credit Union
-Pizza Time

Thomas K. Jenkins Age: 49 Address: 515 Cedarleaf Avenue, Capital Heights, Maryland Thomas K. Jenkins
Age: 49
Address: 515 Cedarleaf Avenue,
Capital Heights, Maryland

Cpl. Mark Hoffman, Public Information Officer

Dover Police Department | April 9, 2015 at 11:52 am | Categories: NEWS | URL:

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CVMW Fugitive of the Week

Attached is this week’s CVMW Fugitive of the Week.

Thank you,

Lieutenant R.F. Horowitz
Chesterfield County Police Department
Special Investigation Division
Tactical Investigations Unit
Desk: (804) 706-2821
Office: (804) 796-7091
P.O. Box 148,
Chesterfield, Va. 23832

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail may contain information that is privileged, confidential or otherwise protected from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient of this e-mail, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail, purge it and do not disseminate or copy.


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2-20-15 News Release

2015-02-20 Gun-Drug Seizure.doc

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