[ddj] Open data murder tracker in Trinidad and Tobago

Rosie Williams budgetaus at hotmail.com
Mon Feb 3 22:58:13 UTC 2014

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Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)Founder & Developer InfoAus.net   ABN 90 345 143 783                       Home | Blog  | Twitter | BudgetAus FB | eXpenseAusFB | BudgetAus | eXpenseAus | KnowYourPlace | InfoAus Shop                                          

Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:09:39 -0400
From: gerardbest at gmail.com
To: data-driven-journalism at lists.okfn.org
Subject: [ddj] Open data murder tracker in Trinidad and Tobago

Hello all, 

I'm on a team working on a open data journalism project called Bullet Points and I'm hoping you can lend your collective experience/expertise to the project. 

Bullet Points tracks murders in Trinidad and Tobago. The murders are tracked on a Google doc here: http://tinyurl.com/bulletpoints2014

The fatal incidents are listed chronologically and are numbered by victim (murder toll). The victims are announced on Twitter (twitter.com/bulletpoints_) by their toll number. This system has some serious limitations.

Firstly, it is geared toward tracking the murder victims but is an inadequate way of tracking the actual killings themselves. For example, when there is a double murder, the toll goes up by two but the number of incidents goes up by only one.

Secondly, killings do not always occur in the same chronological order that the victims' bodies are discovered. Sometimes bodies of murder victims are discovered after several days. When this happens, the relevant killing must be inserted somewhere in the middle of the existing chronological list, which obviously changes the toll count of all subsequent victims. Unfortunately, because our current system relies on the toll count to identify the victim, it has now run into this serious limitation.

I think that what I need to do is add another column that contains a unique reference number for each incident. The unique reference number can follow a standard protocol such as [DATE][INTEGER]. For example, the most recent murder, which was discovered today, would have a reference number 2014013001. I think this will deal with the problem but I am not sure it is the best solution.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you think you can help, I would be grateful for your perspective on this problem and proposed solution.
Gerard Best

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