I’ve looked at the crime log for my city (Burlington, VT) and, regrettably, the data isn’t presented in a way that is very useful to the interested homeowner. I assume that the data is collected to help the police do their job, more than to help inform the public.
I would find it valuable to know every time a string of cars are broken into in my neighborhood… dates, locations, details. Same with grafitti, house break-ins, vandalism, etc.
I’m sure the police have this data… it’s just not easy to get to and may be under wraps for other legitimate reasons. Sure would be nice to have the police dept. website presenting all this data with an RSS feed that popped up on my feed reader when we get an uptick in trouble… “eight car break-ins reported in your neighborhood in past two days.”
What I’m left with is our informal neighborhood watch via Front Porch Forum. That is, some people post a note on their FPF neighborhood forum when they get ripped off. This is much better than nothing, but not as comprehensive as I’d like to see.