In our second model that included all shooting types the proportion of all shootings and homicides in our selected 100 blocks decreased by 2% for 2011 and remained the same for 2007-2011. This indicates that more serious shooting crimes are occurring in a slightly more concentrated area in 2011 than the wider set of shooting incidents.
Our expanded model shows that in 2007-2011, only 17% (1041) of total shootings and homicides occurred in the top 100 blocks, compared to 6112 in the City overall.
In 2011, 18% (268) of the total homicides and shootings occurred within the top 100 blocks, compared to 1515 in Oakland overall.
|Expanded Model 2007 - 2011 Homicides & Shootings|
|Within USC 100 Blocks||% Within the 100 Blocks||Oakland Total|
|Expanded Model 2011 Homicides & Shootings|
|Within USC 100 Blocks||% Within the 100 Blocks||Oakland Total|
100 Blocks map
Click through the checkboxes in the layer box to display the 2011 and/or 07 - 2011 one hundred blocks.
How do our 100 Blocks match up?
By georectifying the maps provided by the City of Oakland in their Oakland Safety Plan document, we were able to roughly compare the areas selected by the City with those determined using our methods. A visual comparison of our selected blocks reveals some obvious discrepancies in results produced by the two approaches. Because the City has not been specific in how it has calculated it's 100 blocks, it is very difficult to recreate an accurate method to test their approach.
Our single year and five-year models have several small areas of overlap with the City's 100 blocks, yet there are also stark differences between the two regions. There are two large block clusters in the City's published PDF that contain none of the top 100 blocks according to our methods; both of these are in East Oakland. There are also a number of block clusters in our model that are seemingly not part of the City's chosen blocks. Most notably the blocks clustered in central East Oakland, adjacent to High Street and along Fruitvale Avenue, are not part of the City's 100 blocks. This raises more questions with the City's published maps as it is difficult to know what year or period of time was used to derive the 100 blocks they identify in their plan. Additionally, it is not possible to know exactly which of the "shooting" offenses were included in the city's calculations resulting in their assertion that 90% fall homicides and shootings occur in 100 blocks.
The City has claimed that 90% of the homicides and shootings occur in just 100 blocks. In order to reach the 90% level of homicides and shootings in the City between years 2007-2011, we had to include 1,303 blocks out of the 6,560 total census blocks in Oakland. In 2011 we had to include 527 blocks out of 6,560 to reach 90% of homicides and shootings in the City. This suggests that homicides and shootings are more dispersed throughout the City and not as concentrated in a 100 block neighborhood as the City suggests.
|Number of Blocks to Account for 90% of Homicides & Shootings|
|Homicides & Shootings||Total Homicides & Shootings||3,601||845|
|90% of Total||3,241||761|
|Census Blocks in City||6,560||6,560|
|Count of Blocks to Include 90% of Homicides & Shootings||1,303||527|
Appendix A shows a map of the blocks in our model and an estimate of the City's blocks. Here the yellow line outlines our representation of the City of Oakland's 100 Blocks based on the information that they have released. The light red polygons are Urban Strategies Council's 100 Blocks from 2007-2011 crime report data. The blue polygons are Urban Strategies Council's 100 Blocks from 2011 crime report data. The dark green polygons are where the 2007-2011 and 2011 100 Blocks overlap. The black borders are Oakland City Council Districts.
Implications for the 100 Blocks Policy
According to our analysis, only 17-20% of homicides and shootings occurred in the top 100 blocks and our analyses identify somewhat different blocks than the city's analyses. Below are some of the implications of this plan given our uncertainty of the model used to define it.
• Providing accurate, useful information to residents is not an optional part of governing. Sharing the details of this plan would empower and better engage residents, not drive a wedge between the public and city hall.
• Any time such a large intervention is planned the public should be fully aware of the reasons and details that led to the development of such a plan- Measure Y is a prime example of visible policy and services.
• Based on the published research from hot spot policing efforts in other urban cities, it should have been clearly communicated from the outset that focusing efforts to reduce crime in the most dangerous parts of the City would result in displacement of crime into nearby neighborhoods. This should have been addressed with either an on-the-ground effort to contain and control crime spread or with an analysis of the crime displacement resulting from this initiative. Such analysis uses a concept called the displacement quotient to measure the spill-over in crime, similar to what should have been done with the gang injunction analysis.
• With any serious initiative to reduce violent crime in a focused part of a city there should be a corresponding evaluation to help the public and other cities to learn if this intervention was effective or not. The Department of Justice requires such evaluations for its funded efforts and makes a point to publish these results so other cities can learn what works and what does not in reducing crime: these studies are published freely at http://www.crimesolutions.gov/ . Because the City has not published the data behind their model nor the exact block boundaries it renders the public powerless to judge the claims of the City regarding success of the initiative.
Some Lessons about Open Data and Transparency
Since we have been unable to obtain the 100 block details or specifics on the datasets used, we have opted to build our own 100 block model and publish the entire project for full public scrutiny- the raw data, the results and the models. This is how we expect public policy to be made in a modern city; with full transparency and accountability in decision making, and so we are publishing this short study as an example of how open, engaged government should look. City budgets, funding and other public records must be publicly available and so it is inconsistent to be secretive when it comes to the development of the data analysis used to base a huge new city project upon. Under California law (Public Records Act, Section 6252(c)), any data used by a government agency must be made public for the public to sufficiently evaluate the claims of government. We strongly believe in and support data-driven decision making in local government, however when the data are not disclosed, decisions cannot be evaluated and there is a breakdown in the democratic process.
If you're inclined, or if you just love maps and data then we invite you to read our full methodology on how we build this model and derived all our figures.