Better late than never, the Post-Gazette appears to be embracing modern technology.
As a geek, it's reason enough to smile - every slaying in Allegheny County harnessed and displayed by Google maps. You can even zoom in for the satellite-view of areas you wouldn't dream of driving by. Next, can Google incorporate these dangerous areas (as input from city police department data through a slick API) into their driving directions to reduce the risk of stumbling upon an untoward neighborhood?
As a concerned citizen, it paints another picture of course, forcing us to realize that most of us live in an entirely different world than those folks in Homewood and the Hill District. There was a shooting up the street from me last year, but my experience can't compare with the regular violence and drugs that determines those lives. And for the folks in Shady Side or Mt Lebanon or out in the depths of Allegheny County with their white picket fences? Watching "The Wire" on DVD is as close as they'll get. It's easy to ignore those city problems and focus on why the fire department is taking so long to rescue your cat from its perch in a tree.
All this data in the hands of citizens can only be a good thing. But we need to do something with it. Is that more funding for police in dangerous neighborhoods? Is it more community outreach? More money for inner-city schools? In the least, we can say it's more. Thanks to the Post-Gazette for having the foresight to post this map on their front page and hopefully wake some of us up.
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