THE STORIES

The data made available through the Public Safety Open Data Portal and their local and national origination points can be used to inform what we know and don’t know about public safety, which often provides important context for what we hear in the media and community. We identify several examples below to demonstrate the potential use and value of the local and national data available through this site, now and in the future.

Officer-Involved Shootings

A critical issue facing policing and communities today is the nature and frequency of officer-involved shootings (OISs). As explained in the Officer-Involved Shooting Data section of this site, officer-involved shootings often occur in the highest crime areas of the community, as can be seen below in the map of violent crime and officer-involved shootings from Dallas.

The map layers modified for use to create this visualization are available in this Portal as well as through the City of Dallas Open Data Portal.

Public Health and Public Safety

A key goal of this Portal is to enable users to visualize and assess public safety problems in new ways or with new tools. While the relationship between public safety and public health is sometimes fairly direct (e.g., substance abuse, mental health), there are many opportunities in public safety to consider the relationship to public health challenges and opportunities and vice versa. For example, a common observation made today is the possible link between homicide reduction and improved trauma care. We took an initial step to explore how this Portal may help us to visualize and understand these relationships by using a public map layer of hospital locations in Dallas and overlaying this with data on homicides and officer-involved shootings resulting in a death.

As appears to be suggested by the heat map below, it is possible that more homicides and OIS deaths occur in areas of the City that are further away from available trauma care (as represented by the hospital icons), potentially further supporting the notion that access to trauma care is an important factor in reducing homicides and saving lives. As is suggested by the map of all aggravated assaults (includes shootings), violence does not visually appear to be more substantially concentrated in the areas of the city where more homicides seem to occur, although scientific research would be needed to answer this question with more certainty and visualizations without rigorous statistical analysis can be deceiving.

The map layers modified for use to create this visualization are available in this Portal as well as through the City of Dallas Open Data Portal. The hospital location map layer (which has not been verified by the Police Foundation) was made public by an ESRI ArcGIS user in March of 2015.