Inspiration

2020 has been an unprecedented year. In the midst of a global pandemic, an increase in anti-foreigner hate crime and the intensification of police violence have catalyzed the burgeoning racial justice movement. As People of Color, we've had months to dwell on the issue, and we wanted to contribute in whatever we could towards social impact. Safeguard Seattle was made with our relatives and friends in Seattle and victims of heinous hate crimes in mind. In order to make an impact in such a frustrating time, we combined our passion for coding and our responsibility as members of our communities to produce a useful tool to make life better.

What it does

Safeguard Seattle is a tool meant to help marginalized communities avoid being victims of potential hate crimes. It uses up to date police reports to create an interactive heat map that tracks the location and frequency of hate crimes across Seattle. Areas with higher frequencies are indicated by larger and more opaque markers to denote the severity of violence in the region. When hovering over these markers, users will see a brief description of the most recent incident in the area and when it happened. Additionally, users are able to filter incidents of hate crime by various identity categories. Depending on the user's chosen race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion, the heat map redistributes itself to display the frequency and location of incidents by the user's chosen criteria. Along the left, there is a rolling newsfeed that updates users on the most recent incidents.

How we built it

For the backend, we wrote all of our functions with python 3.8. We imported pandas and flask libraries to scrape data from the Seattle Police Department's crime updated .csv files and parse it properly into a readable format. The python code was hosted on the Google Cloud Platform in the form of Google Cloud Functions that are accessible through HTTPS requests. We also used a Google Scheduler to run our database update daily. We used a Google Firestore database to keep track of each of the individual crimes in Seattle along with their location and other information. The frontend of the website was coded with Javascript, JqueryCSS, and HTML. We used the Google Maps API in the JavaScript code to create an interactive map. We created a hate crime news feed with rss feed that updates by the minute.

Challenges we ran into

We ran into lots of trouble trying to implement our map properly with custom markers to show the information that was in our database. Additionally, we ran into some hiccups with other various bugs.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're particularly proud of being able to build a project that was challenging to make but was oriented towards a relevant social cause. It was also some of our first experiences with frontend development and we're really happy with the result.

What we learned

During this hackathon, we we had to learn lots of new skills to properly implement our project. For example, Brandon and I had to learn how to use JavaScript coming in with no experience. We learned a ton about how websites work, and how to actually design them.

What's next for Safeguard Seattle

Addressing and preventing hate crime is a national issue. With more data and a more exhaustive user filter list, Safeguard Seattle can be used to help all marginalized communities across the United States. Seattle ranks second nationally in hate crime incidents alongside New Jersey and Texas, and California leads the country in hate crime incidents, doubling Seattle's annual total. With time and more holistic research and consideration on the causes of hate crime, Safeguard Seattle can be built into a tool that provides vital information for all minority populations.

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