Open Data: Strengthening Public Safety

March 31, 2016 12:00 pm PST | Public Safety
Photo: Paul Butler

The Human Face of Big Data, a PBS documentary released last month, took a close look at how the data revolution is changing our communities. From individuals tracking their health data to civic organizations working with government agencies to visualize solutions to some of our most pressing social and economic problems, data is changing “human lives in incredible ways.”

One of the examples in the documentary that demonstrates the impact of data on human lives is the Justice Mapping Center’s visualization of the cycle of incarceration in Brooklyn, New York. The Justice Mapping Center works with the New York State Division of Parole, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Council of State Governments, the Urban Institute, and other partners to provide government leaders with tools to analyze crime and incarceration. The effort will “devise new strategies that will produce a better return on the billions [spent] on corrections,” says Adam Gelb, director of the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project.

Watch: Mapping the Cost of Justice

As Laura Kurgan, an Associate Professor at Columbia University points out in the video, it’s not the data alone that’s interesting, it’s the emerging stories. It is this philosophy — combining content with context to educate, engage, and inform the public that underlies the Socrata for Public Safety public engagement solution.

More: Learn How CrimeReports Is Building Community Trust

Montgomery County, Md., is using data to write their own public safety success story. In addition to sharing fire and rescue and police data, the county is sharing data on accreditation standards for correctional facilities, court appearance rates, and other important metrics, such as participation in self-growth and development programs. Not only can residents see if the county is meeting its goals, but they can better understand how tax dollars are being invested to increase public safety. Check out Montgomery County’s safe streets and secure neighborhood goals.

See how CrimeReports helps law enforcement agencies proactively reach out to their communities for information and support.

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