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Policing in America

Building evidence about the America public's experience with the police forces

Project Overview

The Policing in America Project is a multi-pronged, open data effort to systematically improve evidence about how the American people view the criminal justice system and police forces. The project will demonstrate the value of building data capabilities to enable a more robust understanding of the relationship between perceptions of law enforcement agencies and the conditions in select cities, including disparate perceptions by sub-populations.  

The Policing in America Survey is collecting original data in select cities across the country, initially including Chicago, Illinois and Dallas, Texas. This household survey data collected using address-based sampling will be made available as an open data resource in 2021, with de-identified microdata to support future research and analysis. In addition, new information from the Policing in America Survey will be combined with relevant and existing open data resources to provide context and perspective about conditions at the local level. 

Why a Non-Governmental Survey?

The project is being conducted with support from philanthropy, non-profits, and the business community who recognize the value of open data in improving policing in the United States. Building on this project, the Data Foundation will encourage local, state, and federal agencies to improve the availability of open data assets about policing operations, services, and other key metrics in tandem with dialogues about legislative and administrative reforms to responsibly promote community safety, transparency, and accountability.

What Statistics Will Be Available?

The Policing in America Survey will provide reliable statistics about behaviors and attitudes towards policing at the local level, in selected geographic areas. Using random sampling, the household survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago is based on a questionnaire developed by national experts in criminal justice and policing. The full questionnaire and documentation of survey methods will be available in the near future. 

In addition to the survey, additional data sources will be available to align the perceptions and attitudes documented in the survey with local conditions. This information will be made available in partnership with 

How Can the Open Data be Used?

Data collected and shared from this project will be available for future research, analytical, and policymaking uses. Select communities will have access to summarized information about perceptions and attitudes, to align with contextual data. Researchers will have access to unrestricted, de-identified microdata to support future research.


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