A Review of EveryBlock: How It Helps the Public

I just got my first look at the brand new EveryBlock.com Web site that launched Wednesday afternoon.

The site launched with data from Chicago, New York and San Francisco. Other cities will come online over time.

EveryBlock filters an assortment of local news by location so you can keep track of what’s happening on your block. I entered the Chicago site as a trial. I typed in the zip code 60609, and in nanoseconds found all of the crimes reported in that zip code — car thefts, robbery and prostitution. You can click the word “map” on the upper right corner of the listing, and it maps all of the crimes in the same way that made ChicagoCrime.org (another Holovaty invention) so popular.

The site also gives you restaurant inspection scores for every zip code, street or specific address.

I then found all of the new business licenses issued for that zip code. When you click on the Business Reviews navigation bar, you’ll be directed to a listing of various businesses that you can comment on and rate. 

Anytime the city of Chicago sends a press release from a city department that mentions this section of town, it will show up in the city press release section of the site.

The “news articles” tab features stories from various sites that in some way mention the area covered by the zip code. “Filmings” is a tab that mentions what movies have been filmed in that area of town.

The “photos” tab takes you to Flickr photos that have been tagged as having to do with Chicago. The site lists street closures due to construction, block parties. etc.

This site is deeper than it may appear at first. In every selection, there is a “citywide stats” feature in the top right corner. When searching for restaurant inspections, I clicked on “citywide stats” and was able to see how many Chicago-area restaurants had the most severe violations. I found that 4,493 restaurants had problems with their floors. I got a listing of every one of those restaurants on the site.

It works that way for each of the selections. You can get as deep as you want to — right down to the individual inspection.

And, I love the simple box at the bottom of every Web page that asks, “How can we make EveryBlock better?” That is real responsiveness.

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