Friday, September 20, 2013

Estimating a Bike Theft Neighborhood Index for Philly

[Ed. note: the following is a guest blog post from Ken Steif, a Doctoral Fellow in the City & Regional Planning Department at the University of Pennsylvania]

In anticipation of this weekend's Apps for Philly 'Hackathon' which is focused on transit and transportation, I did some tinkering with a bit of data on bike thefts throughout the City.

We know that there are a variety of locational factors that influence a thief's decision to steal a bike. Many of these probably have something to do with the built environment, like lighting or proximity to a bar or restaurant where a patron might witness the crime. There is also likely a temporal component involved as well - perhaps more bikes are stolen in the warmer months.

Given these patterns, I thought it might be possible to capture some interesting dynamics by estimating a Bike Theft Neighborhood Index. The index effectively plots thefts over a time/space continuum, illustrating how the monthly pattern of incidents vary across neighborhoods.
Click for bigger version

We (the Bicycle Coalition) collaborated with local map and data whizzes Azavea this year on bike theft as part of Azavea's Summer of Maps program. We will have a more detailed report on the results of that collaboration later this fall. In the meantime, remember to deter theft by securing both wheels and your frame to a pole or rack that cannot itself be cut or pulled from the ground.


Unknown said...

Very interesting. Looking forward to the detailed results. Any thoughts on why there's a huge spike in October, almost across the board? School starting, maybe?