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Baltimore City seeks to curb intimate partner violence by leveraging public data online

Baltimore City Hall. Credit: Sarah Y. Kim/WYPR

As Baltimore City residents continue to grapple with various forms of violence daily, city officials are examining its root causes as a way to slow the pace.

Intimate Partner Violence, previously known as domestic abuse, accounts for 21% of all violent crime across Baltimore City, according to the Baltimore City Police Department.

Nearly two years ago, city councilmembers on the Health, Education and Technology committee drafted a resolution with a goal of addressing this type of violence, most frequently committed against women, through a different approach. A public health lens, officials said.

It's an "overlooked public health crisis," according to advocates working for government agencies and community organizations that have been collaborating to tackle the issue.

“In 2022, women made up more than half of all victims of aggravated assault,” said Shantay Jackson, executive director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement during a discussion during city council on Wednesday.

Jackson said that violence against mostly women has continued to increase. She added that women made up a third of victims of homicide in the same year.

The department now has a data analytics team that will soon release “an innovative, public safety accountability dashboard.”

The dashboard is expected to be released to the public in mid-February.

“It’s more imperative than ever that we rely on data to inform our approaches,” she said.

The dashboard will track domestic violence incidents by neighborhood, as well as arrests and the conviction status of those arrests.

“We're looking at all of the crime data to make sure we understand the trends that are happening,” said Wendy Lee, MONSE’s deputy director." We're also looking at data to determine how we're doing with protective orders. We look at guns seized. How many weapons are we taking off the streets?”

Lee told the council the data analytics team has been aggregating data from the Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office, and the courts.

The dashboard is a first for the city, and leaders hope it will improve resource allocation, connecting victims with services and offenders with treatment but it's not in lieu of punishment.

Lee warned the dashboard is still in its infancy stages, with some information, such as 911 calls related to intimate partner violence, becoming public later in the year.

“There's a lot of data that we need to really drill down," Lee said. "And that's one of our main priorities as we start. Where are the gaps? Where do we need to spend our time and efforts to see results?”

Wambui Kamau is a General Assignment Reporter for WYPR. @WkThee