[Update: June 11, 15:49hrs - article updated as original content pertained to another robbery-related site we're due to write about tomorrow.]
Robbed in Barcelona took our fight to the internet. We could have learned karate and gone vigilante, but we prefer a good quality psychological battle.
Our screenshot below shows the glut of reported robberies in Barcelona city. Each red pin is an incident and they are so condensed in the city centre that they blot-out the streetscape. One interesting thing about Robbery Maps is that whilst the majority of the contributors to Robbed in Barcelona are English speakers, the contributors on Robbery Maps (for the Barcelona area) are overwhelmingly Spanish speakers, which shows that the locals are under attack as well.
Robbery Maps was created by two locals, Rodrigo and Francesc. The first incarnation of the site was created on the Google Maps site, but due to the ease with which content could be deleted, they decided to set-up their own domain and site so that they could guarantee the accuracy of their database.
It’s a stunning initiative, and it’s to be commended.
Having started with Barcelona, they rolled-out the solution so that it could be used in other cities, such a Lisbon and London, but the emphasis and majority of the activity remains in Barcelona and other parts of the Spanish-speaking world.
Recently they’ve moved to mobile, with a third collaborator, Cristian, producing a free iPhone app, which can be found here.
We had a quick chat with them across email, and found out the following:
Robbery Maps came about after seeing several robberies in a single weekend in Barcelona. The creator had just returned from a 40 day trip in Siberia and Southeast Asia without seeing any crime and without feeling insecure, but the first weekend back in Barcelona showed the city’s common problem.
He continued: “Looking for information on the internet, I found the group “Robbed in Barcelona” and decided to create together with a colleague, the first map of burglaries in Google Maps. In just over 15 days we had over 15,000 visits and more than 200 robberies included. Seeing the interest generated, we decided to create the site robberymaps.com with our own database to make it easier to control the content and avoid spam, etc.. Since then (May 2010), we have identified more than 800 thefts worldwide, mostly in Barcelona.”
Of their future plans, they say it is “to study the integration of our application with travel sites, as well as setting-up collaboration with major events to warn visitors of the most dangerous and common robbery scams and crimes.”
So there! We inspired these people, a little. Wow, we’re pleased! :)
To visit Robbery Maps on the web, click here: Robbery Maps