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Help! Harris County Crime Data Access is Down

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Dear Harris County Subscriber,

We wanted to let you know why you may not have seen any crime alerts from us recently. Crime has not stopped, but our access to the information has stopped.

Starting in March 2011, we began trying to collect a public crime incident data file to map for you. After a lengthy open data request process with the Harris County Sheriff's Office including many calls, emails, and letters, we started receiving a data file intermittently in 2012.

Since September 2013, HCSO has stopped responding to our data requests (that included backlogged requests for data as far back as May). And we have been unable to get a full explanation of why the data access was turned off.

Please ask your local officials to consider full transparency of crime data over proprietary methods that exclude the press from access and threaten citizens if they share this vital crime information.

Here are some officials to reach out to:

Sheriff Adrian Garcia's Office: (713) 755-6044

Email: sheriff.garcia@hctx.net

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan's Office: (713) 755-5101

Email: vince.ryan@cao.hctx.net

Ask why HCSO has been repeatedly unresponsive to our requests and why access to crime data is not open and transparent to everyone.

At SpotCrime we believe open and transparent access to crime data has many benefits to the public - most importantly the reduction of crime. Any restrictions to the public and the press can only have an opposite effect.

We all are in this fight together to make our communities safer. Transparency and mutual trust with your Sheriff's office is a good place to start. How can we help fight crime if we are restricted from knowing about it?

We hope to follow up with additional information next week.


The SpotCrime Team



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