More code: City of Austin web scrapers

Austin Municipal Court Scraper

Here are two tools to collect information from the City:

APD Incident Reports Scraper

This tool scrapes the Austin Police Department's messy Indcident Reports Database (police reports) into a machine-readable CSV format. Reports come from the official APD website:

Some notes, from the documentation:

  • The Austin Police Department only holds the past 18 months of police reports on their site, get it while it lasts.
  • There is no way to disinguish between non-Hispanic whites and Hispanic whites in the reports. The APD doesn't include ethnicity data here, so all Hispanic people are lumped into "White". One possible solution to doing a preliminary sort on this is to cross-reference these records with the Travis County Clerk's Misdemeanor Records, which does include ethnicity details. Another strategy would be to use something like the Census Bureau's "Building a Spanish Surname List for the 1990s" as a model.
  • Juvenile offenders' names are censored from the reports.

Austin Municipal Court Scraper

Give this tool a person's last name and date of birth and it will gather that person's Municipal Court record. The Austin Municipal Court takes care of most extremely low level crimes like traffic violations and misc fines. This tool asks for a person's last name and DOB, and then grabs their entire Austin Municipal Court case history, and writes it to a CSV file.

Each case can have a lot of different "events." Each time the case progresses in any way (they send you a reminder, you pay the fine, you get the violation dismissed, etc.) there is an "event" filed under the case ID. This tool collects every event for every violation found (active or closed).


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