Medium by The Brechner Center
February 4, 2020
Guest column by Brittany Suzsan, Vice President, SpotCrime
Florida’s Chapter 119, the Public Records Act, is seen as one of the strongest transparency laws in the country when it comes to accessing public crime information.
Chapter 119 has allowed websites and media outlets, like SpotCrime, to collect public crime data, geolocate it, and disseminate it as quickly as possible over a multitude of platforms.
The type of information most media outlets collect from police agencies under Chapter 119 is known across the nation as a “crime blotter,” “event log,” and/or “call log.” Crime blotters have been around and distributed to the public since the first crime maps were recorded being made in the 19th century, even without an open records request. Most police agencies pull something from their Records Management System (RMS) and/or Computer Aided Dispatch system (CAD or 911 calls for service) daily for crime analysis purposes — like where to place more foot patrols within a precinct or for hot spot policing.