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Slate Partners With Anonymous Tweeter @GunDeaths To Map Ongoing Reports of Gun Incidents

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, December 21 2012

There's a ton of statistics out there on gun-related violence in the United States, but as two of Slate's editors pointed out this morning, there's not much out there that tracks statistics in real time.

So the duo, Chris Kirk, Slate's interactives editor, and Dan Krois, a senior editor there, decided to try and change that by partnering with the anonymous Tweeter at @gundeaths to map every reported death that @gundeaths finds through news alerts and tips. @gundeaths began the Twitter reporting this July.

"It seems shocking that when guns are in the headlines every day, there’s no one attempting to create a real-time chronicle of the deaths attributable to guns in the United States," write the two editors.

As the they admit, the map won't catch everything. Nevertheless, it's still a sobering project: For example, the map shows that since last Friday, 114 people (including those in Newtown, Connecticut) have been shot and killed.

The data is sortable by gender and age, and can be downloaded in a spreadsheet that the two have compiled.

Slate's project is sure to be just one of others that are likely to emerge in upcoming weeks. Already, Seattle-based entrepreneur Alex Algard has put together a map of school-related shootings at Stoptheshootings.com. And then there's other maps of crime that don't specifically focus on guns, but contain a lot of incidents related to guns, such as Homicide Watch in Washington, D.C., Redeye Chicago , and Crimemapping.com, which, per a spokesperson, tracks data from 400 agencies around the country.

The FBI receives reports from state and local law enforcement agencies on an annual basis and publishes these reports in the form of Uniform Crime Reports. A recent Congressional Research Service report on gun control legislation based on data from these reports shows that the estimated gun-related murder rate has actually declined between 1993 and 2009 from 6.6 victims per 100,000 people in 1993 to 3.4 in 2009.

Update: Chris Amico of Homicide Watch says that both The Trentonion and The Chicago Sun Times have licensed its software. And Jim MacMillan tracks gun violence in Philadelphia at GunCrisis.org.

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