Is Crime Increasing Along the 606 Trail ?

I live near the 606 trail  in the Bucktown neighborhood in Chicago. This urban trail (also known as the Bloomingdale Trail)  is a converted railroad trail that is now used for recreational purposes like walking and biking. I really have enjoyed the trail since it’s opening in 2015. It seems that recently there is an a perception that there has been an increase in crime in the areas adjoining the trail since its inception. I was recently contacted by a real estate professional who wanted to find if there was really anything behind this perception. (Note: For many of my consulting projects, I agree not to publish specific results but ask for some leeway in publishing illustrative points others might find helpful).

How would we go about answering such a question ? It really can be a fairly complex issue. Among the questions we need to address are

  1. What crimes are we interested in considering ?
  2. What does “around the 606” mean?
  3. Is crime increasing elsewhere too ?
  4. Could a change in crime just represent a proportionate increase in population near the trail ?

Well, when in doubt, start simply and work one’s way up the complexity ladder.

The Chicago open data portal is a treasure trove of data relating to this great city. Specifically, this link contains detail level of every crime committed in the city since 2001. So our first step would be get a hold of this data. Using this , we can begin to start addressing some of our issues.

In the next couple of posts, I will address some of the steps involved.