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By now I thought I would be an internet millionaire. When my employer starting going out of business for the first time in the late nineties, a friend of mine and I hatched a get-rich-quick scheme based on the idea of defrauding gullible people out of tens of thousands of dollars by asking them for help in getting millions of dollars out of Malawi. It was going to be simple. We would sent off random emails to people asking them to help us get this money out of Malawi. In return, they would give us access to their bank accounts so we could deposit the money. We would first trick them into advancing a large sum of money to finance the project. Then we would string them along for a while by continuing to ask them for more money until they either gave up or we bled them dry.As I said, it was going to be so simple. Or so we thought.It turns out there was already a well-established program like ours called the Nigerian 419 scam. Once they found out what we were trying to do, their lawyers sent us a couple cease and desist orders, and that was the end of that. The big, global corporation had squashed the little guy once again.
For the past several years now, I have tried to catch lightning in a bottle again and fulfill my dreams of being fabulously wealthy and surrounded by a posse. Although it hasn’t made me a millionaire yet, the closest thing I have come to internet domination is Ypsi Crime.
If you read this site very often, then you’ve heard me go on at length about Ypsi Crime. For those of you new to the site, please allow me the opportunity to catch you up on my endeavours. Ypsi Crime started off as an homage to ChicagoCrime in the sense that George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” was an homage to Ronald Mack’s “He’s So Fine.” The idea was to get information directly from the Ypsilanti Police Department and publish it as sort of a grassroots civic infrastructure. The City of Ypsilanti often receives bad press for things that just aren’t true — the level of crime in the city being one of those falsehoods. The site sort of snowballed. It is the second of its kind in the free world and has been duplicated a couple dozen times. It’s true that it’s ChicagoCrime that’s being imitated, but it’s my lame-ass code that’s being copied by the second tier crime mappers around the country since I’m not a clever enough programmer to hide it.
Oh yeah. Ypsi Crime was also once mentioned very briefly in a blog associated with the New York Times. Hey, I’ll take what I can get.
Admittedly Ypsi Crime was put on the backburner this past summer due to other activities in which I was participating. Ypsi Crime celebrated it’s first birthday on July 3rd. We had a little party down at Powell’s Pub on North Huron Street in Ypsilanti. Because it was not widely publicized, it was sparsely attended. It was pretty much just me and this really annoying guy from Wired Magazine.
I had orginally not planned to talk about Ypsi Crime until its second birthday next year, but I received this gem of an email on Friday from Bellevue, Washington:
Detective Michael Chiu
RE: Crime Map
Can somebody call me about this YpsiCrime map. I’m launching one in Bellevue, Wash. and would like some info from you. You folks were actually the inspiration to our project.
How do you like that? Ypsi Crime inspired someone. Not only did Ypsi Crime inspire someone, it inspired someone in the law enforcement world some 2,314 miles away.
This is not something I normally do, but in the interest of equal time, I’d like to offer you, my anonymous readers, the opportunity to email me and let me know how I’ve inspired you.
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