May 26, 2021

The City of Chicago and The University of Chicago’s Crime Lab Launch the City’s First-Ever Violence Reduction Dashboard

This new data visualization tool and data access provides Chicago residents and community organizations with unprecedented access to close to real-time violence data

Chicago- Today, the Mayor’s Office announced the launch of the City’s Violence Reduction Dashboard to support the Mayor’s community-based approach to reducing violence in Chicago. This dashboard was created with support from the University of Chicago Crime Lab, and with vital input from a range of community stakeholders including street outreach and victim services providers as well as City departments. The Violence Reduction Dashboard and the corresponding datasets available on the Open Data Portal are a first of its kind public data-tool depicting data on community and domestic violence, victimization, and the City’s response to violence while prioritizing privacy. The dashboard illustrates the largely inequitable impact of violence in the city, both geographically and demographically. While Chicago is not alone in facing an increase in gun violence, Chicago is taking the lead in democratizing access to critical information that will enable our government, nonprofit leaders, and residents to work together toward better, more effective solutions 

This tool both amplifies the efforts laid out in Mayor Lightfoot’s “Our City, Our Safety” Plan, and makes accessible the most critical data that will allow community organizations and residents serve as partners in carrying out this strategy. The dashboard ensures that everyone who wants to be part of the solution has the best available information at their fingertips and reinforces the “all hands-on deck” approach that the City has taken to public safety and violence reduction.  

"It is critically important for our communities to have access to information and data on the state of violence throughout our city, and this dashboard will be a monumental value-add toward making that access more equitable," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "The transparency and accessibility created by this tool are vital not only for our residents but also our many nonprofit partners who work to address our city's challenges with reducing violence. With the Violence Reduction Dashboard, we will be able to create a more level playing field for our community organizations and residents as we work together to both understand the levels of violence in their neighborhoods and respond quickly and holistically to changing trends." 

The Violence Reduction Dashboard provides violence reduction partners and the public with unprecedented access to data surrounding violence and victimization in Chicago and will serve to ensure that residents and community organizations have detailed and up-to-date information as they work to interrupt and prevent violence. With this tool, violence reduction partners will be better able to coordinate efforts with each other, the Chicago Police Department, and other City departments as they plan for summer safety initiatives.  

This tool differs significantly from previous and currently available data tools and is aimed at providing transparency and usability for organizations, residents, and activists, not law enforcement. Specifically, the dashboard is focused on data framed by victimization counts and community areas, rather than incidents, districts, and beats that were previously used and are generally more applicable for law enforcement purposes. This data includes:  

  • Violent crimes such as: homicides, shootings, aggravated assault, vehicular hijacking, aggravated batterydomestic violence, and human trafficking incidents. 
  • Victim demographics based on age, race, and sex/gender identity.  
  • Visualization and explanation of “The Safety Gap”, which is the difference in rate of shootings and homicides in community areas with highest and lowest levels.  
  • An Incident map of violent crime types and ShotSpotter detections.  
  • Time of day and day of week of victimizations

Currently, the crimes-related datasets on the City’s Open Data portal are updated with a seven-day delay; the new dashboard significantly improves upon this by providing close to real-time violence data updated daily, with an approximately 48-hour delay.   

“This tool will be a tremendous asset to everyone who everyone who works toward reducing violence in Chicago,” said Alderman Chris Taliaferro, Chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee. “Just as a rising tide lifts all ships, equitable access to data surrounding violence in this city is an important tool in lowering those levels of violence and healing our communities.” 

“The University of Chicago Crime Lab is grateful for the opportunity to provide the technical expertise used in the building of this first-of-its-kind tool,” said Crime Lab Executive Director Roseanna Ander. “We hope that it not only makes data usable and useful, but also empowers residents to hold public and civic sectors accountable as they identify how to allocate resources and what strategies to invest in--including those outside law enforcement--to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer.” 

“Tools like these are extraordinarily necessary to the work we do every day as a victim services provider.” Said Autry Phillips, Executive Director, Target Area Development Corporation. “Being able to provide input on tools like these enable those of us working with Chicago’s most impacted residents on the ground level to better understand what the larger picture looks like, and in turn serve victims and their loved ones quickly and holistically.” 

This Violence Reduction Dashboard will enable community organizations to respond to victims more quickly, and to better understand changes in recent violence trends. Violence reduction programs and interventions included in the City’s violence reduction strategy, “Our City, Our Safety” are also visualized on this dashboard to reflect the City’s focus on people and places most impacted by violence.