Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority – ‘Presenting crime data in an informative, interesting, and easy-to-navigate format’

Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority

Background

The Research & Analysis Unit of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority offers a wide range of materials and resources that are useful to justice system practitioners, planners, researchers, students, and the general public. The Unit also serves as the state’s Statistical Analysis Center (SAC). This center is affiliated with and supported by the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA), a national nonprofit organisation that promotes collaboration and exchange of information among state SACs, and acts as a liaison between state agencies and the US Department of Justice.

Mark Powers is a Research Analyst in the Unit, which collects data from over 15 agencies – each providing different data sets. “In effect we maintain a clearinghouse of criminal justice and risk factor datasets collected by other state agencies,” he says. As a result the unit has to handle a vast amount of data. In the past the Unit relied on static maps and reports produced by an in-house GIS system.

However, in order to meet its responsibility as a provider of useful information, it felt it should be providing data in a way that was more informative, interesting, and easy to navigate. “We wanted something interactive and, having seen InstantAtlas, we asked Geowise for a live demonstration via a webinar,” he says.

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London Fire Brigade | ‘Using data presentation to identify trends and patterns in fire risk across London’

Background

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) is the largest fire and rescue service in the UK employing approximately 7,000 staff of which 5,800 are operational firefighters and officers. It is the third largest firefighting organisation in the world, protecting people and property from fire within the 1587 square kilometres of Greater London. The LFB always responds to fires and other emergencies, but its work has changed over the years with a much stronger emphasis now on fire prevention and community safety.

LFB’s GIS Manager Ray Hooper says that the reporting of incidents by borough was something LFB wanted to present in a visual format. Part of the LFB’s remit is to provide borough level reporting to show how it is reporting across different categories of fire in each area. “One of our senior management saw InstantAtlas at a presentation and realised it would be good to show borough reporting data.”

London Fire Brigade - Dwelling Fire Incident reports

Getting started

Ray Hooper set up the borough reporting using LFB data. He created the reports in such a way that individual users can customize them by adding as many function buttons as they want. He says the drop down menus also make the reports easy to use.

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Cornwall Fire Explorer – ‘From crime to fire safety how Cornwall’s Amethyst project is using data visualisation to help the council’s Safety Partnership meets its objectives’


Cornwall Fire Explorer, United Kingdom

From crime to fire safety how Cornwall’s Amethyst project is using data visualisation to help the council’s Safety Partnership meets its objectives

Cornwall Council’s Community Safety Partnership aims to reduce crime and disorder in the county and improve the quality of life and wellbeing for people where they live, work and spend leisure time. The partnership has replaced the six former district based community safety partnerships and includes representatives of the Police, Police Authority, Local Authority, Fire and Rescue Service, the Primary Care Trust, Probation Trust and many other organisations.

Amethyst is the intelligence hub for the partnership. It was set up to facilitate the needs of the partnership and in 2009 it developed the Cornwall Crime Explorer. The aim of the Cornwall Crime Explorer is to reportcrime statistics at a local level to better understand the issues around crime and meet the needs of both the local public sector partners and citizens.

Phil Davies, Strategic Intelligence and Projects Manager, Amethyst was instrumental in Crime Explorer and has since been involved in developing Fire Explorer. Having seen Crime Explorer the Fire and Rescue Service recognised that a similar approach would help them to better understand risk and promote fire safety in the region.

Starting point

Partner organisations are mandated to share data which means that Amethyst has access to a wide range of data sets that can be linked to develop insight into a particular area of focus. As a result Fire Explorer is a data visualisation tool that displays recorded fire incidents at ward level for the following five categories: all fires; arson; car fires; road traffic accidents and chimney fires.

“It’s an excellent tool that allows users to look at fire risk in an easy-to-understand way – whereas previous information systems only served to limit the users,” says Phil.

Meeting the need

According to Phil, Fire Explorer has encouraged the Fire and Rescue Service to take an evidence-based approach.

The Chief Fire Officer, Des Tidbury believes it is helping them change the pattern of delivery so that it is more closely linked to risk. Previously teams would gear their fire safety efforts to where they thought risks were highest. However, these assumptions were based on past practice rather than looking at the evidence which has revealed changing trends…

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Lower Lemon Street, Truro – Cornwall | Image Credit – Wikipedia User – Joowwww (licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution 2.5 Generic license.)