I lived in Chicago in the early 90s. I loved the city, the hustle and bustle, grandiose architecture, busy urban streets, and its bold location on the shores of Lake Michigan. I also felt quite safe there, living in the Far North Side neighborhood of Jefferson Park. I knew that there were parts of the city that should be avoided so that’s exactly what my friends and I did and we went on with our busy lives.

Well, Chicago has a problem. A very serious problem with violent crime, and especially deadly shootings. It has been dubbed by some as America’s homicide capital. Perhaps this is not entirely fair as there are smaller cities in the US that have fewer homicides but violent crime rates per capita that are much higher. St Louis and Detroit often take this distinction. However, there is no escaping the harsh news of another deadly weekend in Chicago, lives lost, squandered hopes, and people fleeing deadly neighborhoods. Only last week 11 people were shot and killed and 61 wounded on Chicago streets. It’s not difficult to understand why Chicago has recently earned the moniker, Chiraq.

The City of Chicago has a great data portal with a dataset of all reported crimes in the city since 2001. I’ve known about it for a couple of years and always wanted to do a visualization about crime in Chicago. Guess what, Tableau just announced the 10x Data Viz Contest to celebrate the ability of the upgraded Tableau Public to handle up to 10 million rows! Perfect: my Chicago dataset has almost 6 million rows and contains crime reports up until the end of May. Have a look!

Special thanks to Ben Sullins for his great tutorial on embedding Google News feed into Tableau and the code he graciously shared.