The ACLU of Massachusetts today launched a new data analysis tool for tracking incidents involving the Boston Police Department (BPD). The tool will allow journalists, activists, and the public to track BPD activity over time, mapping the location and charting the frequency of specific incident types.
Based on data made publicly available by the City of Boston, the new ACLU tool allows users to track BPD crime incident reports beginning in June 2015. BPD typically posts updates of its data daily.
“This is a vital tool in order to build comprehensive government transparency in Boston,” said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “We can’t manage what we don’t measure; policing in our communities should be conducted openly and subject to public scrutiny. We applaud the Mayor and Police Commissioner for releasing this data, and we hope fellow activists, advocates, and the public find the ACLU’s tool useful.”
“If we intend to tackle the causes of violence and longstanding racial inequities in Boston, we need hard data, and we need a sober assessment of that data,” said Rahsaan Hall, director of the Racial Justice Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts. “By analyzing the measurable extent of policing—and over-policing—in Black communities, we can begin to evaluate alternatives to enforcement and reckon with the full, immeasurable impact of generations of racism inflicted upon Black Bostonians.”
The new BPD tracker was published as part of the Data for Justice Project, an initiative by the ACLU of Massachusetts that develops tools and dashboards to make complex data sets accessible to lawyers, advocates, community organizers, journalists, activists, and the general public. The Data for Justice Project also serves as a repository for government data sets and documents obtained through ACLU of Massachusetts public records requests.