News

Portland State partners with police bureau on new crime data website
Author: City of Portland
Posted: April 29, 2015

Students and faculty in Portland State University's Criminology and Criminal Justice program have teamed up with the Portland Police Bureau to create a new website designed to inform Portland residents of longer term crime trends, show the geographic distribution of crime in the city and reveal temporal patterns in criminal offending. The overall goal of the project is to provide residents and visitors with the critical information needed to accurately assess their risk for victimization. 

The website was developed by current and former PSU students, a Criminology professor, and crime analysts from the Police Bureau. The project offers Criminology master's degree students an opportunity to intern with PPB crime analysts and develop skills in GIS crime mapping and data analysis. The students will be updating the website annually to ensure that the public has access to the most recent data possible.

This website increases the transparency of police data by having it analyzed and reviewed by an external partner, said Sergeant Greg Stewart of the Portland Police Bureau. "At the same time, it allows us to better inform the public about crime trends and patterns in the city. From our perspective it is a win-win. The Police Bureau has a long-standing commitment to working with community organizations, and this project demonstrates the potential gains from such partnerships." 

"People in our community often do not know that crime in Portland has declined considerably since the mid 1990's," said Kris Henning, professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice at Portland State University. "They turn on the local TV news, read our local newspapers, and watch crime-based reality shows and see a lot of crime. This makes it seem like things are more dangerous now in aggregate than ever before. The students and criminal justice professionals working on this project believe that access to better, more contextualized crime data is key to accurately assessing our risk and combating excess fear of crime. That is what we hope to achieve with the new website." 

"Portland Police have been working with the community to increase transparency and accountability, and this is another tool in that toolbox," said Mayor Charlie Hales, commissioner in charge of the Bureau. "This is a tool for the public and the media to better understand how crime looks in our city so they have the information to hold us accountable. I don't quote Ronald Reagan very often, but 'trust but verify.'" 

The public is invited to explore the website, found at: https://www.pdx.edu/crime-data/