Using Big Data to understand patterns of crime

Our goal is to steer social policy in an evidence-based manner, thereby reducing rates of incarceration and providing novel options for dealing with criminal offenders.

In the past, legal policy has often been driven by intuition and politics rather than by data analysis. Because of the social cost and stigma of certain types of crimes, sentencing and policy changes are often navigated by emotional response rather than tailored to the person and the circumstances.

Using literally millions of criminal records from multiple states, our subgroup on Criminal Policy Informatics mines patterns of crime and recidivism to help navigate a more effective criminal justice policy. By analyzing these large datasets, the Center explores several questions:

  • Which policies over the past few decades have effectively reduced crime?
  • Which types of crime respond to which types of policies?
  • Are there “gateway crimes” that lead offenders to commit other crimes in the future?
  • What patterns correlate with re-offense?
  • Which crime types cluster, and which are rarely performed by the same individual?
  • When does sentencing effectively prevent offenders from reoffending?
  • What is the link between childhood or prenatal brain development and crime?

With the power of the SciLaw Criminal Records Database, and our team of expert data scientists, the only question is: our data, or yours?

Public crime is public record. But it took our team several years to acquire the data, convert it to useful formats, identify typos, clerical errors, and duplicates, classify the offenses, and calculate the summary information. After obtaining, collating, and categorizing the data, we are opening the CRD up for everyone to help in detecting and understanding the patterns. For organizations seeking analytic support, our team of expert data scientists are able to assist. We can work with agency data or with the CRD to answer questions surrounding legislation or policy.

Interested in our data, or analytic services? Send us a request.

Click on any city below to explore the data



1977-2013 (6.1 million records)

New Mexico:

1984-2018 (5.1 million records)