Two more useful things

1. Recycling, finally: Yes, I’m a recycling freak. Always have been. Before the storm, friends laughed at my diligence. Some–I won’t name names–were convinced the S&WB program was a sham and that the paper, glass, and aluminum I dutifully separated was destined for the same landfill as all my other household garbage. For the past 22 months, that laughter has only gotten louder, since I’ve not only had to separate my trash, but I’ve also had to schlep it to the Green Project for processing…. Well, I’m happy to note that life is about to get a little easier (and hopefully quieter), thanks to Phoenix Recycling’s bi-weekly curbside program. It won’t be as cheap to recycle as it was before the storm, but seriously, what is?

2. Crime stats, also finally: Me, I know that New Orleans ain’t freakin’ Disneyland, and I accept it. Others, however, get hung up on local crime. They spend hours fretting about it, scanning the neighborhood forums on NOLA.com for the latest bit of rumor and speculation about who was mugged where and when. Personally, I thought the forums were moderately useful immediately after Katrina, but hordes of conspiracy theory purveyors soon put an end to that. Still, unless you wanna wait for the evening news–which admittedly isn’t going to give you details on everything–where else can you turn for data? ….At long last, the beleaguered, much-maligned NOPD has stepped up to the plate with a surprisingly useful crime stat site. Just enter your address, and up pops a list of misdeeds committed in your general vicinity. Yeah, it’s probably not as thorough as it should be, and I’m sure it’s missing some stuff, but at least it’s an alternative to the half-baked crap flying around elsewhere….

7 Comments so far

  1. laureen (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 11:16 pm

    Richard . . . sigh. http://citizencrimewatch.org/

    Honey, the NOPD information is like a month old data and it’s so poorly negotiable . . . I am dumbfounded. Are you now dating a COP?

    There are a couple mapping initiatives out there at the public level, this one is better than than the city and it’s still a hack job compared to what can be done by volunteers if they feel it’s worth doing. http://citizencrimewatch.org/

    I can’t take it anymore. It’s the stupidity. . . go ahead enjoy those slow motion maps, one month old. . . egads. Maybe after a month, we’ll realize you are dead.


  2. richard (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2007 @ 9:59 am

    Honey, I don’t mind waiting for a little info as long as it’s accurate. What drives me positively bonkers is the stinky PC hippie freaks on the NOLA boards speculating about crap that may or may not have gone down. There’s plenty to be worried about without fearmongering from people who moved here two weeks ago.

    On the upside, though, I like CitizenCrimeWatch.org–although I kinda forgot about it. Personally, I don’t pay that much attention to crime stats and stuff. I prefer keeping my head down and attacking the very large (and getting larger) pile of work on my desk. Maybe it’s blinders, maybe it’s willful ignorance, but to me, it’s a matter of focusing on the things I can change and not obsessing about the junk that’s already happened.


  3. Brian Denzer (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2007 @ 11:04 am

    Richard,

    Keep the blinders on. It makes it easier for the criminals. I don’t mean to be hypercritical, but it’s time — now — to pay more attention to what needs to be done to reform the entire criminal justice system. Public officials are still covering their butts, closing ranks, and circling wagons, hoping this crime wave will go away, and then they’ll hail Ray Nagin and Warren Riley as great reformers until the next time that New Orleans gets called the murder capital of the world. By the way, one of the goals of Citizen Crime Watch is using text messaging to *let* you keep the blinders on until you need to be notified of an emerging crime pattern in your area of concern. It won’t be possible, however, until the NOPD starts being more open with 911 calls for service data which they themselves use to quickly identify emerging patterns — the 911 calls for service.

    Regards.


  4. richard (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2007 @ 11:52 am

    Brian:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I think obsessing about crime stats and pushing for reforms in the criminal justice system are two different things.

    As far as the latter is concerned, I’d be as happy as anyone to see Eddie Jordan ridden out of town tomorrow, and my feelings about Warren Reily aren’t much different (though I generally have less respect for elected officials like Jordan). I am FULLY aware that their mutual inefficiency is one of–though certainly not the only–reasons for our city’s soaring crime rate. (I mean, seriously: Gail Glapion, Berenger Brechtel, and the Reverend ought to be first in line at the gallows, ’cause the public school system is at the root of all this crap.)

    Crime stats are a different matter; as data, they’re useful, but I don’t dwell on them. Focusing on other, productive things–things I can control, things that will ultimately make a difference in my life and that of my partner, my friends, and my community–is my way of contributing to our post-Katrina environment. I’m not gonna get hung up on who got mugged in my neighborhood last week because that does nothing except make me paranoid. Paranoia doesn’t motivate me to push for changes in local government; distrust and occasional hatred for those officials does.

    Of course, all this is moot until the people who voted Nagin, Jordan, et al into office in the first place get off their asses and start screaming, too…


  5. Brian Denzer (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2007 @ 11:24 pm

    It’s a mistake, Richard, to call crime data simply “stats.” Sure, as the data has been used to date, it’s a historic representation of what happened. Knowing what happened, however, if disseminated quickly enough, can be a predictor of what’s likely to happen again in the vicinity. I’m about to write a post on this topic — but let me just say here that I think there was an identifiable pattern of auto thefts in the vicinity of Tony White’s home in the early morning hours. Recall that he was shot, and then run over by his own Jeep. I’ve identified similar patterns of offenses which preceded other particularly high-profile murders in this town. The trick is knowing when you need to know, and that’s the benefit of text alerts sent according to user-defined thresholds.

    Data is nothing more than stats if all you’re doing is putting the stuff in tables and charts. It’s another thing altogether if put in the hands of people who see the possibility of unlocking the power of data for analysis and public safety.


  6. richard (unregistered) on August 3rd, 2007 @ 10:17 am

    Brian:

    This is how flame wars get started. Please do us both a favor and peruse my original post: I believe both you and Laureen misread it: all I said was that there’s a new resource out there for those folks who obsess about crime stats that’s vastly superior to the inefficient and often inaccurate babble spread on neighborhood forums. I went on to say that I’m not one of those folks: I have other things to do than drive myself nuts worrying about crime 24/7 in a crime-plagued city.

    I never demeaned the value of “data” or “stats”. But sugar, understand that I’m not a criminologist. If you wanna evaluate crime data and identify patterns, rock on; me, I have other things I gotta do. I totally applaud your efforts, but honey, you and Laureen need to read a little better and pick your battles accordingly. I’m on your side.


  7. Eva (unregistered) on August 3rd, 2007 @ 6:04 pm

    Sorry to change the subject…. but I am thrilled about the recycling, too!



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