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Chicago launches violence reduction dashboard

New crime data visualisation tool aims to provide city residents and community organisations with unprecedented access to close to real-time violence data.

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Tool amplifies the efforts laid out in mayor Lightfoot’s Our City, Our Safety plan
Tool amplifies the efforts laid out in mayor Lightfoot’s Our City, Our Safety plan

The City of Chicago has introduced its first-ever violence reduction dashboard in a bid to offer residents and community organisations with “unprecedented access” to crime data reporting.

 

The dashboard was created with support from the University of Chicago Crime Lab, and with vital input from a range of community stakeholders including street outreach and victim services providers as well as City departments.

 

Public data-tool

 

The dashboard and corresponding datasets are intended as a public data-tool depicting “close to real-time” information on community and domestic violence, victimisation, and the City’s response to violence while prioritising privacy.

 

According to the City, the dashboard illustrates the largely inequitable impact of violence in Chicago, both geographically and demographically. While Chicago is not alone in facing an increase in gun violence, the local government claims it is taking the lead in democratising access to critical information that will enable it, non-profit leaders, and residents to work together toward better, more effective solutions.

 

“The transparency and accessibility created by this tool are vital not only for our residents but also our many non-profit partners who work to address our city’s challenges with reducing violence,” said Lori Lightfoot, mayor of Chicago.

 

“With the violence reduction dashboard, we will be able to create a more level playing field for our community organisations and residents as we work together to both understand the levels of violence in their neighbourhoods and respond quickly and holistically to changing trends.”

 

The dashboard provides violence reduction partners and the public with unprecedented access to data surrounding violence and victimisation in Chicago and will serve to ensure that residents and community organisations have detailed and up-to-date information as they work to interrupt and prevent violence.

“Just as a rising tide lifts all ships, equitable access to data surrounding violence in this city is an important tool in lowering those levels of violence and healing our communities”

With this tool, violence reduction partners will be better able to coordinate efforts with each other, the Chicago Police Department, and other City departments as they plan for summer safety initiatives.

 

According to the City, the tool differs significantly from previous and currently available data tools and is aimed at providing “transparency and usability” for organisations, residents, and activists, not law enforcement.

 

Specifically, the dashboard is focused on data framed by victimisation counts and community areas, rather than incidents, districts, and beats that were previously used and are generally more applicable for law enforcement purposes. This data includes:

  • violent crimes such as: homicides, shootings, aggravated assault, vehicular hijacking, aggravated battery, domestic violence, and human trafficking incidents
  • victim demographics based on age, race, and sex-gender identity
  • visualisation and explanation of the “Safety Gap”, which is the difference in rate of shootings and homicides in community areas with highest and lowest levels
  • an incident map of violent crime types and ShotSpotter detections
  • time of day and day of week of victimisations.

Currently, the crimes-related datasets on the City’s Open Data portal are updated with a seven-day delay; the new dashboard significantly improves upon this by providing close to real-time violence data updated daily, with an approximately 48-hour delay.

 

“This tool will be a tremendous asset to everyone who works toward reducing violence in Chicago,” said alderman Chris Taliaferro, chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

 

“Just as a rising tide lifts all ships, equitable access to data surrounding violence in this city is an important tool in lowering those levels of violence and healing our communities.”

 

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