Late last year, President Obama launched the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, an effort that’s aimed at improving law enforcement and community relations across the U.S. In response to recommendations made by the task force, the White House introduced the White House Police Data Initiative (PDI), a program that has brought together police departments from across the country to support an open exchange of policing data. PDI is aimed at increasing transparency and accountability with communities while striving to improve law enforcement outcomes.
Since PDI was launched in May 2015, 26 municipal law enforcement agencies have committed to sharing policing data with their communities, including Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, Orlando, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia. So far, PDI agencies have collectively released 40 open data sets, including Austin, TX, which recently released 14 years worth of officer-involved shooting data; and Louisville, KY, which made its citizen stop data available down to the block level in near real time.
These efforts have led to a number of early successes. For instance, the University of Chicago Center for Data Science and Public Policy partnered with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to use predictive analytics to improve the accuracy of the police department’s early intervention system in predicting which officers are likely to have adverse interactions with the public. The organizations have a goal to reduce false positives by 25%. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office and the Knoxville, TN Police Department have also committed to partnering with the University of Chicago to test and certify the effectiveness of the predictive model.
Open data initiatives and the use of analytics can generate a waterfall of fresh insights and provide multiple benefits to government agencies. For instance, according to Capgemini, the upside potential of ODI includes greater tax revenue through expanded economic activity; increased revenue through the sale of high-value information to companies; reduced transactional costs; and increased service efficiency through linked data.
Open data also offers economic benefit to companies in the private sector. According to a 2014 study by McKinsey & Company, open data offers up to $3 trillion in global economic potential by expanding access to data to a broader audience, offering insights across a variety of topics ranging from census demographics to crop reports to information about product recalls.