Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mapping the Militarization of the Police


One of the outcomes of the situation in Ferguson, Missouri is a greater awareness of the Pentagon's Excess Property Program. Through this program police forces across the United States are equipping themselves with military grade guns, grenade launchers, vehicles, night vision and body armor.

The New York Times has created an interactive map which allows you to discover what surplus military equipment county police forces have obtained through the program. Mapping the Spread of the Military's Surplus Gear uses data from the Pentagon to show where police forces have obtained surplus military aircraft, armored vehicles, body armor, grenade launchers, night vision and assault rifles.

You can select a county on the map to view what equipment, and in what quantity, the local police force has obtained from the Excess Property Program. You can also select a category of military equipment to see which counties across the United States have been in receipt of that type of surplus military gear.

The map itself was created with D3.js. If you are interested in creating a similar map then Suffen.us has an easy to follow tutorial, Making a Simple Interactive Map Prototype with D3…For Total Beginners Who are Totally Impatient, explaining how to create a US counties map with D3.js, using a common separated values file to load the data.
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