San Francisco Crime, Mapped in 3-D

A stunning set of maps from Doug McCune renders San Francisco crime as elevation.

A stunning set of maps from Doug McCune renders San Francisco crime as elevation. Land peaks and crests, according to the SFPD's 2009 incident data.

The stories told here aren't especially surprising. Certain crimes, like car theft and assault, are more or less evenly distributed across the city (yes, even in Pac Heights), whereas others, like drugs (see below), are confined to specific areas—making for a sort of mini mountain range in the poorer parts of town.

But as a concise guide to San Francisco, these maps beat anything Rand McNally prints. They ought to pass them out at the tourism bureau, so clueless out-of-towners know precisely which neighborhoods to avoid. Or, depending on their tastes, which to frequent.

That's the prostitution map. The smaller of the two peaks is part of the Tenderloin district—hence forth known as Mount Loin—and the larger peak is Shotwell Street, both of whose names suggest that hookers and whimsical happenstance walk the streets of San Francisco side by side.