ACLU of Massachusetts: Analyze and Map Boston Policing and Census Data

This project includes helping the ACLU better understand how policing in Boston works, and thereby help us make policing more just, equitable, and fair for all Bostonians.

Project Lead:

ACLU of Massachusettsa private, nonpartisan organization with more than 20,000 supporters across the Commonwealth—is a state affiliate of the national ACLU. They defend the principles enshrined in the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights as well as the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Learn more about the history of the ACLU of Massachusetts, the range of issues we cover, and the national ACLU’s work and history.

Detailed Project Description:

Racial disparities plague every stage of the justice system, from stop and frisks on the street to arrests to prosecutions and beyond. Mapping those disparities in Boston will help us fix what’s broken. At our disposal are three data sets that, when combined, can tell us a lot about racial disparities in policing in Boston: stop and frisk data; crime incident report data; and census data. We’d like students to analyze and map these data sets, looking for information such as: racial disparities in stop and frisks by neighborhood and over time; racial disparities in drug and ‘quality of life’ policing by neighborhood and over time; the relationship between neighborhood income and race demographics and the intensity of policing, as measured by incident report and stop and frisk data; and the relationship between stop and frisks and crime incident reports, by neighborhood. We’re also interested in learning what students can identify in terms of new inferences among these data sets—in other words, answers to questions we haven’t thought yet to ask about the relationships among class, race, place, time (of day, year, etc.) and policing. Are young people more likely to be stopped and frisked after school, near T stations? Are police more likely to conduct drug policing in the summer?

Technical Components:

I need assistance completing this section: data analytics, data mining, software engineering, and data visualization. Project specialization depends on the interests of the students.

Skill/Expertise Requirement(s):

1)  Programming

2) Data analysis

3) Data mining

4) Data visualization