Justin George of the Baltimore Sun wrote a nice piece this week calling on cities to collect data on all shooting victims rather than just criminal homicides. Those that are familiar with my work will know I preach this line often, so it’s great to see it get national publicity.
With that in mind I thought it’d be useful to show which cities do a good job of collecting shooting data.I broke cities down into two categories based on how easy it is to figure out shooting victim totals. The first category are the cities that do a great job making it possible to figure out how many shooting victims or incidents there have been this year. The second category are cities that provide shooting data but do it in a flawed fashion. But they’re providing shooting data (!) so we’ll call them our ‘Above Average’ cities. These are cities that either make it difficult to count the data, don’t provide current year data, or have non-public entities that do the counting.
In all I found shooting victim or incident data on 12 cities. This is probably not a complete list so if you know of other cities doing good work please pass it along and I’ll update.
On to the cities.
Baltimore – Pros: Probably the best gun violence open data portal available, Baltimore provides non-fatal shooting victim counts, shooting totals, and the raw data to calculate victimization over time. Cons: The victimization data lacks an item number so sorting out the number of incidents can be a bit tedious but it’s possible to figure out incident and victim counts for both fatal and non-fatal shootings.
Chicago – Pros: There is no better count of gun violence in a city than HeyJackass.com’s count of Chicago shootings. It’s the gold standard. Chicago’s Open Data portal enables a reconstruction of non-fatal shooting incidents but homicides aren’t sortable by weapon. Cons: It’s not official and the Chicago Police Department stopped providing any type of shooting data in October.
Louisville – Pros: Provides one of the most detailed reports on gun violence of any city. Contains information on victim totals with fatal/non-fatal breakdowns back to 2011. Cons: No raw data, no incident-level data, only updated monthly.
Above Average Cities:
Atlanta – Pros: Provides an official weekly count of shooting incidents and shooting victims dating back to 2009. Cons: No raw data, does not break shootings down by fatal/non-fatal.
Cincinnati – Pros: The city provides a weekly crime report that has a second page with YTD shooting victim counts for the last four years. Cons: It’s poorly marked so you may not know what you’re looking at, there are no year end totals only YTD, and there’s no raw data to enable more in-depth comparisons over time.
Detroit – Pros: Raw data is available on current year homicides and past years non-fatal shootings. 2016 non-fatal shooting data should be available in early January which isn’t ideal but better than nothing. Cons: The homicide data isn’t precise as some fatal shootings are noted as a homicide by an other weapon. Having to wait until the end of the year for non-fatal shooting data isn’t great.
Los Angeles – Pros: Updated weekly, the city’s Compstat report provides shooting victim and shots fired totals. Cons: No raw data makes it impossible to count the changing totals as they occur.
Milwaukee – Pros: The Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission is a model for other cities to use in terms of evaluating gun violence in their city. Provides victimization data and information on many other factors relating to gun violence back to 2009. Cons: Reporting is annual or semi-annual and raw data is difficult to come by.
New Orleans – Pros: The city’s Calls for Service database provides incident-level data on fatal and non-fatal shootings. If you’re dedicated enough you can create a spreadsheet of all shootings going back to 2010 with public records requests. Cons: It’s difficult to go back and recreate all those incidents.
New York – Pros: Nearly identical to Atlanta with a weekly tally of shooting incidents and victims. Cons: Similarly does not provide the raw incident or victim-level data.
Philadelphia – Pros: The city’s shooting victim chart is unique providing essentially an item number, date/time, race/sex, age, wound location and fatality of every shooting victim in the city. Cons: Updated from January 2015 to the end of March 2016 when the updates stopped.
San Francisco – Pros: The city’s year end Compstat report shows that SFPD keeps a shooting database, they just don’t provide that data openly. Either way the 2015 year end report (linked above) gives counts of fatal/non-fatal shooting victims and incidents since 2009. Cons: Only provided at year end. No raw data.
That’s the list I was able to collect, did I miss anybody?