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Baltimore City releases online dashboard with crime data for accountability, leaders say

Mayor Brandon Scott at a November press conference.
Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner
Mayor Brandon Scott at a November press conference.

Anyone with access to the internet will now be able to hone in on any crime reported to the Baltimore City Police Department after the release of the city's Public Safety Accountability Dashboard. This online data tool provides a visual of crime — ranging from homicide, aggravated assault to robbery — throughout the city.

Mayor Brandon Scott announced its release on Tuesday. Scott said the dashboard will provide greater transparency of his administration's public safety efforts.

“When it comes to public safety, progress can and should be measured. The Public Safety Accountability Dashboard provides a look at the numbers that inform our data-driven efforts in ways that directly address Baltimore’s latest public safety trends,” Scott said.

Data from the dashboard dates back to 2012, and is collected from the Baltimore Police Department and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney Office. It will be updated weekly, but will lag behind roughly one week, according to city officials.

Users can toggle with features like neighborhood, police districts and calendar years to better understand crime trends. The Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement co-created the dashboard and hosted four virtual focus groups to review the dashboard before its public release. During those sessions, residents requested resources for crime prevention.

Click here to check out the Public Safety Accountability Dashboard online.

Based on that feedback, data analysts added the Community Violence Intervention Ecosystem to the dashboard’s last page. The ecosystem tool provides evidence-based programs that can “stem the tide of violence.”

“This is Baltimore’s dashboard,” said Shantay Jackson, the executive director of the mayor’s office focused on safety and community engagement. “For the first time ever, folks who live, work, and play in Baltimore have a clear view into what’s happening in our city, can follow along with our work to affect change for the better, and partner with us as we carry out the mayor’s comprehensive violence prevention plan.”

With this being its first iteration, city officials say they expect more feedback from the public to refine the dashboard. For now, the sticking point is transparency.

“This dashboard is another tool that exemplifies [the Baltimore Police Department’s] commitment to transparency, collaboration and accountability in building trust and creating a well-informed public,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael S. Harrison.

“Information is empowering,” said Ivan Bates, the city’s state’s attorney. “This level of transparency allows us as public servants to establish measurable goals and be held accountable for our work.”

City officials are also working to add data from the sheriff’s office which will include more public safety data points such as warrant information and gun seizures.

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