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University of Michigan’s Incident Data

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Data Collection

There is no API to access incidents that happen at the University of Michigan, so instead all data was scraped from police.umich.edu and stored in a database. To a computer an address isn't in its most useful form, so using Google's Geocoding API, all addresses were converted to latitude and longitude. Unfortunately, one quickly learns that there are often mistakes in the original data. For instance, all incidents reported at the Big House are said to have address 1201 Main, not 1201 S Main. This is a small but critical difference because due to the ambiguity, Google's Geocoding API returns the latitude and longitude for 1201 N Main. So now, unfortunately, there is a poor home next to M-14 that has many incidents of fraudulent IDs. Another mistake in the data are spelling mistakes, which will throw off calculations in unpredictable ways (misspelling addresses results in wrong latitude and longitude, misspelling incident types means a new kind of incident). This is why all official queries into police reports should be directed towards the offices of police department at the University.


All code has been open sourced to Github, so feel free to raise issues or suggest features that are wanted. Or, even better, address the issues yourself and they'll be incorporated into the site.

While all the code for obtaining the data is open sourced and is trivial to replicate, the data itself is not open sourced for several reasons. There is no good way to open source a data set, and it allows the site to retain a piece of intellectual property until another entity replicates it.