A mass of city statistics

Some examples of city statistics

The Globe reports Boston is unveiling a new Web site and iPhone app (sorry, Android and Blackberry users) that let you get a sort of dashboard look at how the city's performing in a variety of areas - based on a $650,000 overhaul of the city's back-end data systems.

On the Web site, each of the main tiles lets you open up even more statistics related to the department it's from.

All kinda cool, but statistics are kind of meaningless without some context and may actually prove misleading depending on how they're used - especially in a large-ish city like ours.

For example, it's nice that the city's overall crime rate is down 4% this year, but that might be of little comfort to residents in police district A-1 (Beacon Hill, the North End, Chinatown and downtown), where the latest BPD stats (in boring PDF form) show robberies and attempted robberies are up 14%. And that 4% number hides the fact that rapes and attempted rapes citywide are up 5%.

Still, the numbers can get you to asking questions, which is part of the point of the whole exercise. For example, ISD consistently gets more no-heat complaints than it expects. Why is that?



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    mass of city statistics

    Hey Boston Police Department. What's the status of the recent unsolved murders in Roxbury and Mattapan? I assume I won't be finding the answer in those statistics if I look.

    What an eyesore!

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    What happened to "Information Is Beautiful"? Aside from just being a random smattering of data points, it's also unbelievably unattractive and difficult to read due to the 90 different gradients they used.

    Don't spare the gradient

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    I'd love to get the name/salary of the person (city employee?) who created the images for each tile. The whole thing is an unintelligible mess to my eyes.


    The BPD is just barely good enough for crowd control on weekends in the financial district. Last week i saw a huge gorilla with a drunk chick hanging off his arm and when he let go she ate sidewalk hahah. So when you hear about 20 shots fired in Roxbury....yeah that's going to stay unsolved.

    While I agree with many of

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    While I agree with many of the previous comments, I think it's great that the city is at least trying to do something like this. It may not be perfect but it's a good start and hopefully with help create a more informed citizen.