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Peoria Police transparency dashboard is a developing data source

Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria talks to the media at the scene of Thursday mornings shooting.
Camryn Cutinello
Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria talks to the media at the scene of a shooting earlier this year. Gun violence statistics are a priority for the new transparency dashboard.

The Peoria Police Department is undertaking a new transparency initiative called "Know More, No More." It all starts with a web page breaking down some of the statistics they say are most requested by the public.

Community Relations and Crime Prevention Manager Mary Peterson says the "Know More, No More" campaign begins with a conversation with volunteer department Chaplain Linda Butler.

Butler came to Peterson after a conversation with her mother, following a record 34 homicides in Peoria in 2021.

“She said ‘what are we going to do about it?’” Peterson said. “So then Chaplain Butler came to the chief and was talking about knowing more data to know more. She said to ‘know the data, share the data, own the data, change the data.’”

The phrase was shortened to "know more, no more," with a focus on making Peoria residents aware of crime statistics and fostering a desire to reverse the trends.

“Our vision was to share information, resulting in transparency, legitimacy and trust and to achieve a safer community,” Peterson said. “Many of these crimes are happening but we’re not getting a lot of information. Because we don’t believe that the public truly knows the real picture.”

Peterson says the data can also help inform community organizations, as they'll be able to easily access the numbers they need in one place. Crime and Management Analyst Jacob Moushon gives the example of nonprofits seeking information for grants.

“We get a lot of requests for just raw numbers for grants and things like that,” he said. “I’m hoping this will cut down on that. I don’t think it will cut down on the in-depths, because it’s one thing to look at the numbers and it’s another thing to understand them. I also understand that analysis can be rather tricky.”

As both Moushon and Peterson acknowledge, getting all of that data available is a work in progress. As it stands, the transparency dashboard is currently accessible by first going to the police department page on the city of Peoria website and clicking a link.

“We’re also in the midst of developing a phone app for all of this as well,” Moushon said. “So eventually, this information, you’ll be able to Google, you know, ‘Peoria crime dashboard’ and it will pop up. You’ll also be able to download it to your phone.”

When you first arrive on the dashboard, you're greeted with a message from Chief Eric Echevarria, a survey form and a directory of department leadership, from Echevarria to the third shift lieutenant. Moushon says he reviews the survey form regularly.

Diving further into the web site, a community engagement tab lists the officers assigned to specific neighborhoods, the members of the departments volunteer chaplains program and includes a spot for a list of neighborhood associations.

There's also an empty community events calendar, which Peterson hopes to fill soon.

“The plan is that organizations, once we have vetted them, they will be able to go in and post their event,” she said. “But they’ll have to be vetted and then they’ll be given the links where they can go in and post their events.”

The next tab, "crime statistics," features tracking of yearly gun violence right at the very top. Meters measure the total number of incidents, victims and homicides. There's also a graph tracking the total number of gunshot victims over the last 11 years.

Moushon explains this formatting choice.

“What’s coming is a more interactive crime map of all the crime in Peoria,” he said. “But, number one, the biggest questions we get are for gun crime. So that’s what we wanted to get up right away.”

As you scroll down the page, you'll find a link leading to a gun violence map that can be sorted by factors like year, month, race, age and gender.

A look at an interactive map showing the location of gunshot victims in Peoria. It can be sorted by time as well as demographics like race, gender and age.
Peoria Police Department
A look at an interactive map showing the location of gunshot victims in Peoria. It can be sorted by time as well as demographics like race, gender and age.

Even further down the page are statistics on other categories of crime.

That section currently prompts the visitor to sign into the city of Peoria's data aggregation system ARCGIS before seeing any data. Moushon says this is also a work in progress.

“We’re working through that bug of having you sign in,” he said. “Because you’re not supposed to have to sign in. It’s supposed to be open to everybody. So that’s something we’re aware of and trying to work on.”

Right now, Moushon says a lot of the data on the website is being updated manually. But, when development is finished, the site will pull directly from the department's record keeping two to three times a day.

Moushon also has broader future plans for ShotSpotter data on the platform.

“What we are working on is that we’ll have a, probably a 30 minute to an hour delay, but then those will be automatically updated there as well,” he said. “So if there’s a ShotSpotter [alert], within the next hour or so you’ll be able to see the ShotSpotter come up.”

Of course, not everyone has easy access to this data. Studies like those from the city's Racial Justice Commission demonstrate that reliable Internet access isn't attainable for many of those in Peoria's most disadvantaged communities.

Peterson says she hopes the upcoming mobile app and a community-wide QR code campaign get the dashboard in front of as many Peorians as possible.

“We will have posters, billboards around the community,” she said. “We will also have signage on the buses that will have the QR code. We’ll have posters up in various places where one can scan the QR code.”

Moushon says opportunities to access data will be increasing monthly, and even daily, as the department continues to develop.

You can find a direct link to the transparency dashboard here.

Collin Schopp is a reporter at WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.