NEW ORLEANS, LA – Following through on a commitment outlined in Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s NOLA FOR LIFE plan, today the City announced the first release of public calls for service data, which documents calls to the New Orleans Police Department from January 2011 to December 2012.
The data is available to citizens through the existing City of New Orleans Open Data Portal, at http://data.nola.gov, as raw data that will allow individuals and groups to examine and analyze police responses and interaction throughout the city. It is hoped that the new ease of access to this data will improve transparency and reduce the staff time dedicated to filling public information requests for such data.
“This is data the public has asked us to deliver, and it represents yet another step in making our government more open and accessible,” said Mayor Landrieu. “For the first time, our citizens will have easy access to information that will give them better insight into the work of our public safety personnel.”
Calls for service are calls from the public that result in a public safety response from the NOPD, the New Orleans Fire Department or Emergency Medical Service. The data is from the Orleans Parish Communication District (OPCD), the administrative office of 911 for the City of New Orleans, and includes incident number, type, time reported, dispatch time and time closed. During an initial implementation period, the data will be posted monthly through March 2013. The City is in the process of establishing a system that will enable automatic daily updates of calls tracked by OPCD. That system is expected to be in place after March 2013.
The data release aligns with requirements of the NOPD federal consent decree that the City provide data and information to the public in a transparent and public-friendly format to the greatest extent allowable by law. “The consent decree is the result of two years of work with the U.S. Department of Justice to institute reforms that will improve the NOPD. We are not waiting until it’s finalized to begin launching high-value initiatives like this one,” Mayor Landrieu said.
“This is another step in the right direction for the people of New Orleans and police department personnel as well,” said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas. “Simply put, we take every opportunity we can to be transparent in the conduct of police work. Residents will now have an easier time retrieving records, and as a result, some of our workers will have more time to focus on other duties that require more immediate attention.”
In order to protect the privacy, of callers, no names are included and addresses are shown at the block level. Additionally, call types involving juvenile cases have been excluded.
It should be noted that the data reflect incidents as they were reported to the dispatch center, and do not necessarily translate to criminal events. Also, the final outcomes of incidents may change after police investigations. In the OPCD system, the NOPD may reclassify or change the signal type for up to 36 hours after the incident is marked up.
In the spring, once daily updates begin, data will reflect the previous day’s calls from midnight to midnight. Additionally, citizens will only be able to view incidents that have been closed (i.e. not an active incident).
The City of New Orleans Open Data Portal was created to enhance open government, transparency and accountability by improving public access to high-value and frequently requested data such as geographical data, active alcohol beverage outlet (ABO) licenses and code enforcement inspections.
In May 2012, Mayor Landrieu released NOLA FOR LIFE: A Comprehensive Murder Reduction Strategy, containing new and ongoing initiatives to improve public safety in New Orleans. Building on the work of the first two years, the NOLA FOR LIFE plan includes a strong focus on stopping the shootings and improving the NOPD.
Development of the NOLA FOR LIFE plan was fueled by the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which worked with Superintendent Serpas, former Criminal Justice Commissioner James Carter and Health Commissioner Dr. Karen DeSalvo to develop strategies that specifically address the high murder rate in New Orleans.