This guide to Crime, Courts, and Corrections was created to make it easier to find, understand, and use information about public safety in the City of Pittsburgh, and the criminal justice and corrections systems in Allegheny County and the State of Pennsylvania. While public agencies are now sharing a growing amount of data, this information does not have value to most people without context or an understanding of underlying systems, laws, policies, and processes.
Release of the data in this document allows the City to be a participant in the National Police Data Initiative. Founded in 2015, the Initiative is an outgrowth of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing designed to reduce crime by building trust between citizens and police. Information sharing is viewed as a major trust-building step law enforcement organizations can take, and over 50 jurisdictions are now participating in the Initiative. For more information, please see the National Police Data Initiative’s FAQ.
The Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center is pleased to have worked with our City and County partners to publish much of the information referenced in this guide as open data. We’re also grateful to have had their help in assembling and editing this document. This guide also illustrates a critical partnership between the City’s Bureau of Police and the County Department of Human Services. Many of the tools featured in this guide were developed through this City-County collaboration.
This guide was inspired by Crime and Punishment in Chicago, a Website developed by the Smart Chicago Collaborative.
Watch former Police Chief Cameron McLay’s September 2016 update on violent crime in Pittsburgh, and learn more about how the Police are using data and community partnerships to improve public safety in Pittsburgh.
A number of tools have been developed to make it easier for people to use and understand the data contained in this guide, and a growing number of these tools are being developed by public sector staff at the City and County, the university community, journalists, and civic technologists. We’ve included links to some of them here. Please let us know if there are others that should be included in this list.
Allegheny County developed a series publicly available, interactive dashboards to allow users to explore different aspects of the Allegheny County Jail population. Dashboards provide information on the daily population, alternative housing, bookings, releases, length of stay, service usage, and involvement with the justice system prior to booking.
Homicide information in the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are available through two separate dashboards. Data for the City dates back to 2010, with data from the County available as early as 2007. These tools include data on the number of homicides, clearance rates, weapons used, time of the incident, day of the week, demographics on victims and perpetrators, and benchmarks to other cities. They were developed through a collaboration of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner.
Learn more about gun violence in your neighborhood on this dashboard developed by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and the City of Pittsburgh. This tool includes data on shootings, aggravated assaults involving a gun, and shots fired. The data, available back to 2010 also includes information on the time of day shootings occur.
This dashboard contains information on trends in violence by neighborhood back to 2010. The tool contains information on homicides, shootings, assaults, and calls for shots fired, and also includes information on the number of incidents involving the use of a firearm. It was developed through a collaboration of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and the City of Pittsburgh.
The Crime Dashboard provides information on the types of incidents occurring in your neighborhood. The tool developed through a collaboration of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and the City of Pittsburgh also includes information on the number of crimes cleared, the time that incidents occur, and the victims back to 2005.
With Burgh's Eye View you can easily see all kinds of data about Pittsburgh—including 311 requests, building permits, code violations, and public safety incidents.But City data isn’t a log of when and where we put our parking chairs. It’s a huge collection of information about the world around us that can help us understand what’s happening in our neighborhoods, and lead us to ideas and decisions that can make where we live better.
This guide contains information on the types of data describing aspects of policing, criminal justice, and corrections system in the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and Pennsylvania. Each of the categories shown here in this section of the guide describe the types of data that are available, provide links to where it can be found, and describe some additional context to help people use and interpret the data accurately and responsibly.
Data on the victims of reported homicides in Pittsburgh is available through an interactive data visualization developed through a partnership of the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Department of Human Services.
Crime incident reports are often created following a police investigation. Incident reports may also be generated from calls for service.
Police Incident Blotter data updates every day, and can be found on the Regional Data Center’s open data portal.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections manages 25 state correctional institutions and a number of other correctional facilities in Pennsylvania. Data on the monthly prison population by facility, and annual admissions and releases by county are available, along with information on inmates through the State’s Inmate locator tool.
Non-Traffic Citations in Pittsburgh are given for minor criminal offenses, and are often called summary offenses. The types of offenses that often result in a citation include loitering, disorderly conduct, harassment, public drunkenness, and low-level retail theft.
Non-Traffic Citation data updates every day, and can be found on the Regional Data Center’s open data portal.
The population of the Allegheny County Jail changes on a daily basis as people are arrested, released on bail, exonerated, sentenced, transferred to another facility, paroled, or released.
Jail Census data updates every day, and can be found on the Regional Data Center’s open data portal.
The Allegheny County Department of Court Records’ Criminal Division is the custodian of criminal records in Allegheny County. While the county manages this information, the data is owned by the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.
In Allegheny County, data on emergency calls for service are managed by the Allegheny County Emergency Services. Non-emergency calls for service are made through the City of Pittsburgh’s 311 system managed by the City’s Department of Innovation and Performance.
Data for non-emergency 311 calls for service is updated hourly, and can be found on the Regional Data Center’s open data portal.
Data on people taken into custody by City of Pittsburgh officers are available as open data. More serious crimes such as misdemeanors and felony offenses are more-likely to result in arrests, however arrests may occur for other reasons such as parole violations or failure to appear for trial.
Arrest data updates every day, and can be found on the Regional Data Center’s open data portal.
Policies and procedures govern the way officers interact with citizens, report incidents, and ensure accountability. Sharing policies and data on police-community interactions demonstrates the desire of City leaders to build trust with residents, and highlights their commitment to transparency.
The City of Pittsburgh is making the following data available on the Regional Data Center’s open data portal: