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A heat map from Walk Score shows the hot spots in Seattle for crime. The South Lake Union area, home to Amazon, is outlined in blue.

Some city streets are safer than others. And now Walk Score — best known for placing a walkability rating of 1 to 100 on homes and businesses— is looking to tell users whether they’ll get mugged, robbed or tagged in certain areas.

Beginning today, the Seattle company has introduced crime maps in three cities: Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago. Crime maps are nothing new, but Walk Score co-founder Matt Lerner says they’ve got an interesting twist on the data.

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Crime in Wallingford is lower than other parts of Seattle.

“Other real estate industry crime maps simply show you that more crimes are reported where there are more people,” says Lerner. “This can be misleading since it doesn’t tell you anything about your odds of being a victim of a crime — and this can (make) cities, especially downtowns, look less safe than they really are.”

Lerner says that Walk Score’s heat maps are more compelling because they are normalizing the statistics by the number of residents and workers, and weighting by the severity of the crime.

“This allows you to accurately compare your per capita rates of being impacted by crime when you’re looking at neighborhoods,” he said.

Here’s the crime map for downtown Seattle and here’s one for South Lake Union.

bellevue-talkingLike its other services, Walk Score plans to make money through the crime maps by licensing the data to other real estate sites. To date, the Walk Score data is being used on more than 20,000 real estate sites and the company is now showing more than 10 million scores per day across its network of sites.

Now, don’t think that Walk Score is just focusing on the negative. The company also today released social tags for neighborhoods, showing off the things that are getting Tweeted the most in 3,000 neighborhoods in 200 cities across the country.

For example, in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood the words that are most frequently being used in Tweets are solstice, Paseo, Theo Chocolate and Makerhaus. In Bellevue, it is Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, Lincoln Square Cinemas and Nordstrom.

Previously on GeekWire: New Microsoft patent: Walking directions that avoid crime-ridden neighborhoods

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