Crime Report as Marketing


In 2012, I moved to a new area in Austin and within the first week, several home security companies showed up at my door soliciting their products.  At first I thought it was because I was new to the area but then I found out that they monitor these crime reporting websites and solicit their services in areas that have certain crime sprees.  This makes perfect sense right?  Its not like they are performing criminal acts, they are just marketing to people who don’t want to be the next victim.  Lets take a closer look.

Take a look at these:  (local to Austin but very cool)

Type in your zipcode and you can get a report sent to your phone every day – all kinds of stuff to be worried about.

Now lets think about this from the perspective of marketing your goods and lets use the classification


Obviously, if I were running a home security firm, I would want to monitor the Burglary category, but one can imagine other services like security guard services or even people who sell pepper spray monitoring some of these other categories.

My goal in this post was to show you that there are information sets being published out there from public records that drive services to your door.  How is this different from your actions on Facebook or Gmail that drive services to your screen? In all cases, your location, your online identity, so much of your metadata will be used to drive products and services to you that one can imagine a threshold or breaking point for the consumer.  Have you hit yours yet?

5 thoughts on “Crime Report as Marketing

  1. This is a pretty standard application of GIS to a marketing problem. My local Police Dept. links to for mapping of neighborhood incidents going back 30 days. Domestic disputes and littering are the biggest problems where I live.

  2. Consider private company use of drones that fly over neighborhoods and sell images of your house to: landscaping companies, roofers, car lots, etc. Good? Bad? Not sure.

  3. Drones over civilian airspace don’t scare me. They just make me excited thinking about how fun it will be to watch the Personal Anti-Aircraft Guns (or Jeff-to-air missiles) going off at the fourth of July BBQ!

  4. Agree with TK. Using your phone to shop won’t make it any better either. There are so many publicly available profiles from data mining that it is a little scary and intrusive.

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