The NYPD performed 532,911 stop-and-frisks in 2012, and for each stop an officer wrote a report. Every three months, when the reports are released, the New York Civil Liberties Union collects the information in a database.
In addition to things like race, gender, date, and time, “the data include the age of person stopped, if a person was frisked, if there was a weapon or firearm recovered, if physical force was used, and the exact location of the stop within the precinct,” the NYCLU says, and it can be mined or visualized.
In fact, they encourage it–the organization makes the data available for download, so anyone can play around with it, controlling for 101 different variables.
Last week, Mark Hansen, a professor at Columbia Journalism School, asked his students to do just that, and the results, which were tweeted out by Damien Spleeters, a student in the class, are striking.
Every stop-and-frisk in 2012, by location
Every stop-and-frisk in 2012, by location and race
The blue dots represent stops of African Americans, the orange stops of “white Hispanics,” red dots are caucasians, green are asians or pacific islanders. According to the NYCLU’s data, 55 percent of stops last year involved black New Yorkers, and 32 percent involved Latinos.
The maps were created using the freeware R.
“I just used the given data in R and followed the instructions, and I just happened to tweet the results because I found them quite impressive. We played with other variables, as you said, to create some graphs and comparisons, but we only made two maps,” Spleeters says. “I’m sure there’s a lot more to be done with the data available, like some other interesting visualizations.”
h/t The Verge.
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