The Guardian Crime Project was created in 2013 by a small group of high school students based in Providence, Rhode Island. The students set off with the ambitious goal of better analyzing, better representing, and better publicizing national crime data made available annually by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Armed with the Bureau's expansive Uniform Crime Report database, the students began their quest.

With months of research and investigation soon behind them, the small group began to entertain the idea of creating a custom Twitter engine. The students saw an engine as a potential way of relaying their final product - a small, simple, and friendly image showing crime statistics for any city in the United States - to their audience. With tremendous time and effort the posse developed their own customized engine and set it to work under the alias of @guardiancrime on Twitter.

Today, the Guardian Crime Project is becoming increasingly useful for those curious and interested citizens across the country. With just a simple tweet, and just a few seconds of effort, any person in the United States can gain instantaneous access to F.B.I. crime data - conveniently simplified and stratified to a single, straightforward image. Operating under the reliability of F.B.I. data, Guardian now covers over ten-thousand communities nationwide. The concept is quite simple, yet the practical application is truly remarkable.

Guardian is beginning to provide the American public with a long awaited center for all things crime. Transforming powerful big data to minutely analyzed statistics, Guardian is shining light upon crime in thousands of communities across the country. With Guardian, Americans are becoming more aware and educated of the crime taking place in their own backyards and beyond.


This quick, walk-through guide will show you how to use Guardian. Start by opening the Twitter application on your mobile device, or by navigating to Twitter on your computer with a web browser.

Step 1: First you must press the Compose Tweet button to begin writing your Tweet. Guardian uses Twitter to provide its crime data to users. The Twitter account you are planning to Tweet from must not be private. If other people cannot see your Tweets, neither can our robots.

Step 2: Mention @guardiancrime by typing '@' followed by 'guardiancrime'. Mentioning our account allows our robots to notice your Tweet. Our bots are always scanning Twitter (they're being run on a server in New York City), so Guardian is always available for use.

Step 3: Use #data in your Tweet by typing '#' followed by 'data'. Using #data implies that you wish to receive crime data from Guardian. Including this particular hashtag will alert our robots and call them to action. If you wish just to say hello to us, or perhaps to ask us a question, including #data will not be necessary.

Step 4: This is the important part - add a location. First, press the small location pin icon above your icon. It is usually located next to a sort of camera icon. After you've done that, use the pop-up search bar to type the name of any city in the United States. The search will work best if you type the city, followed by a comma, followed by the state abbreviation (like this: 'Boston, MA'). Next, hit the blue 'Search for ...' button just below the search bar. Your city will pop up - simply touch it. Your Tweet is now location enabled! If you ran into any unforeseen difficulties along the way, don't worry: they probably occurred because you have some sort of location privacy restriction turned on for your phone or computer. A visit to your device's 'Settings' app or perhaps Google may be in order. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Step 5: Send the Tweet! You should receive a reply from @guardiancrime in around fifteen seconds. Make sure to refresh your feed or check your 'Notifications' and 'Mentions' tabs. Again, do not hesitate to Direct Message us with any concerns; we're glad to help.


So you have just received your localized crime report from @guardiancrime. We have worked hard to make our visual product as self-explanatory as possible, but here we will elaborate nonetheless.

National Percentile: the National Percentile figure displayed in the top lefthand corner of the visual is extremely important. Quite simply, it represents the percent of cities nationwide that are "more dangerous" than your city (or more precisely, have a higher crime rate per capita than your city). For example, as shown, only 26% of cities nationwide are "more dangerous" than Boston. With this it could also be said that 74% of cities nationwide are "safer" than Boston (100 - 26% = 74%). The higher a city's National Percentile value is, the "safer" the city.

Statewide Percentile: this statistic is practically identical to the National Percentile statistic in nature. However, instead of applying to all cities nationwide, this statistic applies only to cities statewide. Statewide Percentile represents the percent of cities statewide that are "more dangerous" than your city.

Percentage Change in Crime: this three-part bar graph tells the story of a city or town's crime history. Each bar represents a percentage change in total crime per capita over the past 5 years. A negative number means crime is falling, and a positive percentage means crime is on the rise. This graph is great for providing quick insight into an area's crime trends - is it getting safer or more dangerous?

Violent/Property Crime Comparison: another three-part bar graph, this time showing a city's violent/property crime rate (per 100,000 people) as compared to that of the state and that of the country. This graph pulls data only from the most recent year of the F.B.I.'s Uniform Crime Report database. Those numbers above the graph (as labeled) represent the total count of each particular crime annually and their rate per 100,000 people as well.

Historical Trending in Violent/Property Crime: this multi-year graph also details an area's historical trending in crime. Each bar represents the total number of crimes for a given year. Quite obviously, a downward trend over time would represent a decrease in crime, and an upward trend would represent an increase.


We hope you enjoy using Guardian! Please note that while the Guardian Crime Project is all about publicizing crime, publicizing our inner workings and code is not in our best interest. Despite this however, we will be happy to answer any questions or to address any concerns through our Twitter page. Please feel free to shoot us a Direct Message at any time and we will be sure to get back you to. Thanks for using Guardian!


Publicizing crime is our mission. Here are some articles publicizing our project.

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