St. Paul, Minnesota has been plagued by a series of church burglaries; can you help find the criminals responsible? That is the question being posed by Nemo de Monet at the blog Entropic Memes. Apparently, the St. Paul PD has made the information on these burglaries available to the public. De Monet poses that if a large group of people were brought together over the internet and give only a few minutes of time to looking at the data, the “crowd” may very well come up with many ideas and conclusions that would take one analyst many days, weeks, or months.

In addition, Kristan Wheaton, professor of intelligence studies at Mercyhurt College in Erie, PA and author of the blog Sources and Methods has taken the raw data from the Police Department, given it to Dagir Co., who plotted the data on another interactive map, where members of the public can filter the data and see it in different ways.

This is an interesting exercise in the mashup of new technology and mapping and is well worth a read and a look. The map is interesting the play with and de Monet entertains some interesting ideas on the way that crowd-sourcing a project like this both gets the community involved and may provide insight much faster than individual crime analysts.

Here are a list of resources for this project:
Entropic Memes 1st post
Entropic Memes 2nd post
Entropic Memes 3rd post
Official Google Map of St. Paul church burglaries
Sources and Methods story
Dagir Co.’s map story on the church burglaries

Update: Dagir Co. has also created a wiki for all who want to share analysis with others interested in this project. The wiki can be found at