Part of providing security for your company or your clients often mean conducting risk assessments of the business or organization. One aspect of that assessment is examining local crime data and propensity toward crime at nearby business zones and in the proximate neighborhoods. While research like this list of the top 25 worst U.S. cities for crime can give you a birds eye perspective of your locale, it doesn’t give you the amount of localized detail you need. Often local police will provide crime reports, and you just have to ask for them. Some, like the City of Portland, Ore., operate with full disclosure and even are able to map crime reports using GIS software. Alternatively, there are a number of private websites (e.g., CrimeReports.com, SpotCrime.com) that aspire to offer mapped crime reports. Some of these websites have very little information because they depend on the community to enter crime information, rather than drawing directly from police reports, and others simply resell the same police reports that you can obtain for free.
The inside tip for your security assessment:
One online tool to put in your assessment arsenal comes straight from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA’s National Clandestine Laboratory Register identifies known locations for clandestine drug laboratories (read that as meth labs) or dump sites. The data is listed by state, and downloadable PDF reports from each state give addresses of these known labs, grouped by city. The information is entirely free and open to the public (one recent article on CNN sourced a family who found that the home they purchased was a former meth lab). The locations of the labs are provided in simple street address data form; to locate these on a map, simply turn to Mapquest, Google Maps, Bing Maps or a similar free mapping service.
Finally, you can provide your own correlation as to whether the repeated historical presence of meth operations might somehow relate to crime at your business. Certainly there are select businesses (pharmacies, for example), where knowledge of the propensity for local neighborhood meth lab locations might prove quite useful in improving employee and store manager safety and security awareness.