Participants in the White House's Police Data Initiative identified challenges and solutions across law enforcement data collection, analysis and release. Here are the ideas and actions that came out of those discussions.Continue reading
A new initiative from the Justice Department empowers state and local governments to effectively utilize crime data, saving money and increasing public safety.Continue reading
At a recent hearing of the D.C. Council, groups discussed whether the public should have access to video from body-cameras worn by police. The meeting set a precedent for the conversations that will soon play out across the country.Continue reading
One major public benefit arising from the use of criminal justice data? Expanding transparency around law enforcement can help improve community-police relations.Continue reading
Police are increasingly using data in order to reduce crime. One of the most high-profile uses of data in this area has been in the law enforcement approach known as “predictive policing” — the results, however, have been mixed.Continue reading
The nation's criminal justice data is, in many cases, unreliable and incomplete. At Sunlight, we're working to make access to the data that does exist better.Continue reading
With evidence-based practices becoming increasingly popular in many areas of criminal justice, the external push for academics to engage in policy decisions is logical. How such a connection can be forged sustainably, though, is less obvious.Continue reading
SpotCrime ranks US cities on a scale of 0 to 2 on how open and transparent their police agencies are with crime data. A 2 ranking means the city is open with its data, a 0 means it’s not.Continue reading
The Ferguson, Missouri shooting reflected three categories where the authorities utterly failed in their duty to be transparent. Unfortunately, they reflect broader problems across America.Continue reading
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Brant Houston is the Knight Chair in Investigative Reporting at the College of Media at the University of Illinois and Editor in Chief of CU-CitizenAccess -- a community online news and information project devoted to investigative and enterprise coverage of social, justice and economic issues in east central Illinois. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
CU-CitizenAccess.org, an award-winning online newsroom, was launched with public data and it continues to thrive and grow with data about the central Illinois region.
Conceived as a digital platform for university students, faculty and journalism professionals, the project began with a review of basic Census data for the communities of Champaign and Urbana, Illinois in 2008. (Thus, the “C” for Champaign and the “U” for Urbana.) The data revealed what seemed like a surprisingly high percentage of people living in poverty – about 20 percent – in a county that is home to the University of Illinois, a top public educational institution.
But as we scanned the data, we knew there were questions about whether college students, with low earned income, were distorting the numbers. So we looked at the percentage of subsidized school lunches and saw that more than half the school children were receiving lunches. We also read news stories and talked with the staff at the local newspaper and realized there was more than a story to pursue – that there was an ongoing project.
While collecting more data and information, we worked with colleagues to raise funds from a local community foundation, matching money from the Knight Foundation’s Community Information program, and from the University. By the spring 2009, work was underway by Illinois journalism alum Pam Dempsey and Shelley Smithson. In December 2009, the website was up and running and alum Acton Gorton, was helping administer the website while reporting too.Continue reading