New Tool Maps Arrests Nationwide With Eye to Reform

By Shani Saxon Jan 31, 2019

Launched today (January 31), Vera Institute of Justice‘s new Arrest Trends is an interactive visual guide that allows users to "access, customize and analyze decades of policing data that previously had been disparately located and difficult to interpret."

By mapping every arrest made in police jurisdictions across the country, the tool seeks to "empower diverse stakeholders such as community advocates, police practitioners and policymakers to explore and better understand police enforcement"—and search for ways to improve the system. It not only reports who is arrested, but what they are arrested for and who was impacted by the crime. It also lays plain the gaps in the data that jurisdictions report.

Arrests disproportionately affect Black, Latinx and Native people, which ultimately causes communities of color to distrust the police, and may make them less likely to report crimes. That’s why Vera officials see the tool as a crucial part of remaking the justice system. Per its findings, the data presented there challenges "the notion that America’s reliance on enforcement is a necessary component to achieving oft-stated public safety goals—or indeed, a means of achieving justice or equity." The group’s ultimate goal is to "reduce the criminal justice system’s footprint" by highlighting the need for a new approach to policing and the dangers that come with an overreliance on arrests.

Access the Arrest Trends tool here.