A Reader Makes a Map

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Many readers have asked why there are no maps on The Homicide Report. One reader has done something about it.

That reader is Michael Quick, a dean and neuroscientist at the University of Southern California. Quick has built a map for the site based on the entries in each weekly coroner’s list. You can view it by clicking here: Quick’s map. Brown markers indicate homicides from the last month; black markers indicate those from January and February. Scrolling over each marker produces information on each homicide.

‘I just started to look at the blog, and was really touched by it,’ Quick said. ‘I would read it and think, where is this exactly?’ Quick, below right, confesses to being a workaholic with a weakness for repetitive tasks. He toyed with a mapping program, and after a few days, he had entered every listed homicide--some 10 dozen--leaving out just a handful whose addresses need to be reconfirmed.

The map revealed both expected and unexpected patterns of homicide, Quick said. ‘You look at what’s going on in South Los Angeles, and it’s heartbreaking,’ he said. ‘But then you start to see it’s not contained. There are these little tentacles that go out ... it brings home that this is not just a problem in one area.’ At the same time, Quick noted that some neighborhoods that people used to call dangerous, such as MacArthur Park, now have few homicides.


Quick is dean of research for USC’s College of Letters, Arts, and Science, and studies the molecular mechanism of addiction. Why is he interested in The Homicide Report? ‘I love this city,’ he said. ‘And this is like a daily chronicle of what goes on in this city, truly something we all share in Los Angeles. Each of the stories, even the brief little ones, it makes you wonder, who are these people? Who are their families? It gives faces to this tragedy. We overlook it so easily, but it makes it so you can’t overlook these things.’