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Chicago-Based Center Starts Live Crime Tracker With New Data

NORC at the University of Chicago’s Center on Public Safety and Justice has launched a Live Crime Tracker. The center says that, "Much the same way public health systems leverage data to detect, prevent and control emerging diseases, Live Crime Tracker monitors crime trends in real-time, giving law enforcement agencies, public officials, media, and community organizations the information they need to respond more quickly and effectively." The Live Crime Tracker provides daily updates on eight crime categories from more than 50 of the 200 largest U.S. cities. The tracker lets users visualize and analyze daily, monthly, and yearly crime trends within a city and compare crime and victimization across cities. Some of the data shared by local governments are incomplete. "We have intentionally highlighted those gaps in data because more depth and consistency of data is one of our goals," the center says.

It adds that, "Without data, it is impossible to build effective solutions to crime in real-time. While we have up-to-date data on unemployment, medical problems, and inflation, gathering current crime data has faced big roadblocks ranging from an inability to comply with federal requirements to resource challenges." The center notes that official national crime statistics are reported many months after the fact, making it difficult to recognize and respond to emerging trends. Limited data means that "policymakers and the public often base decisions on emotion and ideology. In the case of crime policy, this substitution results in less efficient, less effective, and less responsive solutions," the public safety center says.


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