Crimewatch: Krimelabb fights crime with data, numbers - | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Crimewatch: Krimelabb fights crime with data, numbers

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One austinite is empowering citizens to fight crime by using data and numbers.

Jack Darby is the creator of the website called Krimelabb, which allows citizens to track what goes down in their neighborhoods.

Even the music he plays is crime related and when Darby isn't pounding on piano keys, he's pounding on a keyboard, adding crime data to his website, rimelabb.

"Oh I've added lots of stuff, I can't keep track of all the stuff I added," said Darby.

Darby says there are four new main concepts. He's tracking crimes near all the police crime cameras, located in downtown and off Rundberg. He's monitoring cases from beginning to end and predicting crime trends. He also maps out the times, locations, and types of crimes.

For example, there were 63 crimes near camera 112, which is on the corner of 7th and Neches, in downtown from Feb. 1-21. The next highest number of crimes is at camera 114, also with 63 crimes. It is located on 6th Street, between Neches and Trinity Street.

Darby says this is helpful because police purge the video after seven days.

"These HALO cameras are very powerful cameras, they capture all this data," said Darby. "I wanted to have the capability to look at any given day and see all the activity near in proximity to a camera downtown."

With information from Travis County courts, Darby is now tracking cases from beginning to end.

Information can be found on krimelabb by typing in a zip code or clicking on a case number to see the summary of the crime. Offender information, with a mug shot if available, can also be found by clicking on the word "crime."

Darby is also trying his hand at predicting crime trends. He likes to call it a modest compstat or computer statistics, the system Austin Police use to track crime and that's how they know where to deploy resources. For instance, Darby looks at aggravated assaults in a certain neighborhood for the past 45 days. Even a quick glance at this map, and you can see where aggravated assaults may move next.

"It's a very basic attempt at predictive policing," said Darby. "You can see the kind of patterns that are taking place where the crime pockets are."

A victim of crime himself, Darby says it's hard to forget when his home was burglarized two days in a row in the 90's.

"It is kind of unsettling to have someone go through your house, to do it two days in a row; it's something that sticks with you. I remember having lots of sleepless nights," said Darby.

That may be one reason he is so focused on helping neighbors fight crime in their own neighborhoods. He knows just how important knowledge is and he wants to empower others with it. His tireless pursuit even caught the attention of the Austin Chronicle. It awarded krimelabb as the best way to chart local crime in 2011.

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