Big Data for Personal Protection 101

April 07, 2014
Ryan McManus

Big data is a collection of structured and unstructured data collected from different sources such as web analytics and social media usage. Businesses and governments across the world use this concept to determine behaviors and develop action plans accordingly. So what does this have to do with self-defense?

For starters, big data allows authorities and security companies to collect crime-related data and ultimately form statistics and personal safety data. Since attackers are constantly changing their tactics, the continuous nature of big data can help authorities to learn something new and eventually come up with approaches to predict and prevent threats.

You too can use big data on your own to determine how safe it is out there and plan the level of protection you need, i.e. simple pepper spray or a full-fledged stun gun. Check out the following three resources for data and use them to plan your personal safety.

#1) Bureau of Justice Statistics

The Bureau of Justice Statistics is one of the best official resources for information on crime, criminal offenders and their victims. The organization collects data to allow policymakers to combat crime and provide the public with statistics and information to stay safe. Therefore, by visiting it regularly, you can determine how safe your city or state is and determine the best self-defense tactic.

#2) is an online tool that helps you determine how livable an area really is. You can check the Livability score of your address zip code, neighborhood or city through a number of metrics, including crime rates. The website’s crime reports will also uncover a number of important crime statistics, such as the number of registered sex offenders in your area and how often crimes take place on average.

Aside from helping individuals protect themselves, can protect your family since you’ll know whether your current area is safe for it. If it’s not, you can compare it with your next destination to see if you’re making the right choice. This data can also protect your investments on a residential property, allowing you to sell it easily without compromising on its price.

#3) AlertID

Unlike the first two, AlertID is a social network that helps protect individuals, families and neighborhoods. Be it through the official website, email or mobile app, you can receive public safety alerts and share it with others. The AlterID mobile app is especially the most useful as it allows you to communicate, share information and receive alerts on your smartphone. You will also get crime reporting alerts, sex offender alerts, and natural or man-made disaster alerts.

So be well-informed to be well-protected and tap into the power of big data through these channels.

Additional Resources