The city's website, Seattle.gov, was taken offline and repaired yesterday after the Seattle Police Department officially launched its new neighborhood crime map, which caused traffic to the government site to jump to 3,000,000 page views as residents all over the city took it for a test drive. Traffic for the site is usually around 300,000 hits per day.
"Obviously, three million hits in one day is abnormal," says SPD spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, who adds that from the feedback SPD has received, "people are pretty pleased with the new feature. It's being well received."
Whitcomb says that the department is still working to make its online police reports—which are linked to the neighborhood crime map—more accessible (we've frothed about this issue before). SPD now lists all of the police reports filed on any given day, even though only a fraction contain a redacted report. Homicides, assaults, burglaries, and robberies are made available. The others simply contain an incident number. However, listing them as place holders allows the public to call the department and file a records request for a specific report, if they choose.
"These reports are hand-redacted by our staff," says Whitcomb. "As we're able to expand our staff or automate the process, the public will continue to see improvements." In the meantime, Whitcomb says another small improvement to online incident reports is coming soon—asterisks that will denote the police reports that contain a redacted narrative amidst all of the others, which are blank.