Say you want to find out how many people in your town are out on parole for violent crimes. Finding that stat used to take awhile. Think: downloading PDFs, copying information into spreadsheets, sorting data and making at least a few old-fashioned phone calls. Not anymore. Lee Ann Labecki is research director for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. She lead the effort to set up www.PaCrimeStats.info.”So you can go to one place and pull information from all they key justice agencies–whether it be corrections, probation, parole, sentencing commission, state police, or juvenile court judges commission,” Labecki said.
The site makes it easy to turn data into bar graphs or pie charts. “There’s an interactive capability that lets you pull your own reports,” said Labecki. “It has data all the way back to 1989.” The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and developed by the Penn State Data Center.