What questions does our redesigned California crime dashboard answer?
We’ve redesigned our crime dashboard. A dashboard is a visual tool that gathers and presents several important pieces of information in one place, much like a car dashboard.
This dashboard offers high-level crime statistics for 463 California cities, including West Hollywood and the nearby cities of Beverly Hills, Burbank, Culver City, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica. Updated data is on the way.
Metric: Adjusted crime rate
The dashboard’s primary metric is an adjusted version of the crime rate. The standard crime rate is the most common way of comparing crime across jurisdictions and time periods. It’s the number of certain violent and property crimes reported in a year, divided by the population. The specific crimes are homicide, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, grand theft auto, and arson. They’re called “Part 1” crimes.
We adjust the crime rate to reflect the seriousness of the crimes committed in a given city, compared to the state average. For example, if a city has relatively more crimes like armed robbery and fewer like petty theft, we adjust the crime rate up. The adjustment makes it easy to compare rates across cities and years without worrying about differences in the mix of crimes.
How much crime is there?
The dashboard’s first section answers the question, “How much crime is there?” We tally the number of “Part 1” violent and property crimes, by type, and calculate the adjusted crime rate. For context, those numbers are shown alongside the prior year and the long-term average.
Then we identify the biggest types of crime in the city, taking seriousness into account. The biggest crime may not be the most common one.
Is crime high or low?
The second section answers the question, “Is crime high or low?” We don’t have an absolute standard for the level of crime. Instead, we compare it to the state average, all California cities, cities of a similar size, and nearby communities. The comparison to the state average includes a breakdown of the difference by type of crime.
Is crime going up or down?
The third section answers the question, “Is crime going up or down?” We start by showing the city’s level of crime over time, compared to the long-term average and the state as a whole.
Next, we calculate the growth or decline in crime from the prior year. If we have the data, we compare the result to the state average, cities of a similar size, and nearby communities.
Finally, we call out the types of crime with notable increases or decreases in the last year. It’s based on a statistical test, so not every increase or decrease makes the list.
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