Address Issues

Why do I have to enter the city or zip code?

This site uses Google Maps to translate what you type in the search box into an address. We send exactly what you type to Google. If Google can determine an address from what you have typed, then we use it. Resolving free text into an address is a complicated process. Google does a great job of this and we do not try to reinvent the wheel. In order for Google to resolve your address you need to narrow the parameters. By doing it this way we allow you much broader search capabilities. For instance, you can simply enter a zip code, or merely type Winston-Salem. Our implementation allows you the most flexibility in using our site.

The address I enter is not found.

This site uses Google Maps to resolve addresses. The exact text you enter is sent to Google. If Google is able to determine an address from what you typed then we use that address. If Google does not find an exact match, but finds addresses that might be what you are looking for, we display those as choices for you to select. Although Google is highly reliable, sometimes their map data is inaccurate or outdated. Occasionally Google will not have information on a particular street. Sometimes Google will have a slightly different name or spelling for a street.

If you are unable to search on a particular address try using a nearby street or intersection.

Can I search by street intersections?

Yes, you can search by street intersections.

Enter an address like this:

First and Broad St 27101

Can I search by place names?

Yes, you can search by place names. Examples of place names: a neighborhood, a park, a university. Most any place you see while looking at a map that has a name associated with it is a place name you can use in your search. Please be aware that searches such as these are much less likely to find a match with Google Maps.

Enter an address like this:

Hanes Park 27103, or Hanes Park, Winston Salem


Do the mapping markers indicate that a crime occurred at this spot?

No, the mapping markers indicate that a crime was reported near the marked spot. As stated elsewhere, the data we use indicates calls to the Winston-Salem Police. This data does not necessarily represent a crime. Regarding the mapping, we place the marker near the location we get from the Winston Salem Police Department data. The WSPD location data is sometimes a general location, such as a road or intersection.

How are the mapping markers placed?

The data we use provides a street or intersection for each reported call to the Winston-Salem Police. Through a process known as geocoding we attempt to assign a geographic location to that call. When we map a report we put a map marker close to the geographic location. Sometimes when several crime reports are close to each other we map them to the same spot. We do this so that you can click on the marker and view the details of the reports. If markers are too close together one might be hidden under another one.

Why does the map not always list all the crimes when I click on a marker?

If there are too many crime reports at a certain location we cannot display them all in the popup information window. The window would simply be too large. We sort the results by the crime category so that Violent crime reports appear first, followed by Property, Suspicious Activity, Motor Vehicle, and Other. We do this to allow you to see the crimes of greatest interest to you. We also provide you with a count of how many crimes were not shown in the information window.

What happens when there are crimes from different categories at the same location?

Whenever there are more than two types of crime categories mapped to one location we show a marker for the highest category crime. The highest possible category is Violent crime. For example, if Property and Violent crime are reported at the same location, we will show a marker for Violent crime.

Crime Data

Where did the crime categories come from?

The crime categories are not official categories from the Winston-Salem Police Department. Winston-Salem Crime created the categories we use to conveniently group crimes. The categories Violent, Property, and Suspicious Activity contain the crimes of greatest concern in your area. Motor Vehicle contains traffic related reports. The Other category contains anything that did not fit into the first four categories.

Your search returned too many results.

If your search returns too many results we don't display the results. In order to conserve network and server resources we limit results.

Traffic accidents aren't a crime. Why are they listed?

The data we are using is actually call data from the Winston Salem Police Department. This data includes calls about crimes, but it also includes calls for other police services. We make the other data available because, quite simply, it is interesting. It also helps you to understand the many services the police department provides to serve us.

I'm suprised to see so many crimes at a particular location.

Please consider what might be around your point of interest. Large shopping centers or shopping districts are likely to have frequent calls for shoplifting. Hospitals often receive patients who have been crime victims. Sometimes the first time the police are notified of a crime is when a patient is treated.

There is no street name for a crime.

In order to help protect a crime victim's privacy we do not display the street or intersection for certain crimes. The distance of the crime from your search origin that we display when performing a search is correct. The mapped location of the crime is close to the location from which this was reported, but keep in mind that the location marker is intentionally not precise.


How do I link to specific crime reports?

You have several options when linking to our site. You can link to a crime report map or list. You can also link to a specific date range or to reports occurring within a specified number of days in the past.

To link to our site first perform a search. When viewing the search results you will find a link above the map or report list titled 'Link to Report.' Clicking on this will display a panel containing three text boxes containing links.

The first text box link will display the report you are viewing for the date range you entered. The second and third text box links will display the report you are viewing for a sliding date range. The date range will be 7 or 30 days in the past depending on which link you use.

How can I customize a link to specific crime reports?

You can customize or create your own link if you wish. To do this requires some knowledge of REST queries. Rather than build the link from scratch it is recommended that you modify a link copied from a search result page.

Standard Parameters
Key Value
ad Display name of the search location.
lat Center point latitude.
lon Center point longitude.
distance Search distance in miles from the center point. Allows tenths precision.
ccid Crime Category ID (0 for all, otherwise a number from 1 to 5 corresponding to the crime categories).
ctid Crime Type ID (0 for all, otherwise a specific crime id).
search 'map' or 'list'

Your query string must contain either a date range or a days in the past value.

Date Range

Key Value
date_from The start date
date_to The end date

The date format is MMDDYY. Each date segment (month, day and year) must be 2 digits. You must zero pad single digits e.g. 020107.

Days in the past

Key Value
days The number of days in the past
Crime Category ID Values
Crime Category Value
All 0
Violent 1
Property 2
Suspicious Activity 3
Motor Vehicle 4
Other 5

Map Key

Search Address Search Location Marker
Violent Violent Crime Marker
Property Property Crime Marker
Suspicious Activity Suspicious Activity Marker
Motor Vehicle Motor Vehicle Marker
Other Other Marker
Hypothesis Web Design

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