By: Argyro Nicolaou, Jyotiska Biswas, and Tiffany Wang
The Boston Police Department and the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) commissioned a report about Boston “Stop and Frisk” incidents that was released on June 15, 2015. This report contained data about so-called FIO (Field Interrogation and Observation) incidents between 2007 and 2010, and many of the findings point out the disproportionate amount of African Americans that have been stopped on the streets. We used the Boston Police Department FIO data, focusing on the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, in order to show that despite the decrease in FIO reports between 2008 – 2013, the disproportionate targeting of young male African Americans, especially in certain areas, continues. Our audience is the residents of the Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury neighborhoods and anyone that frequents Blue Hill Avenue – a major road connecting all three. Our goal is to embody the experience of being stopped and frisked and also to humanize the people who make up the statistics in the BPD data.
Our campaign involves a site-specific intervention all along Blue Hill Avenue. We decided to focus on Blue Hill Avenue, where 6% of all stop and frisk incidents between 2011 and 2014 happened. Using the maps that illustrate the specific locations of FIO reports (people that have been stopped), we envisage placing big blue dots on the sidewalk, each representing a stop & frisk incident from 2011 – 2014, on the very spot that the FIO incident happened. These dots would feature some basic information for each FIO subject: race, date, age, and gender. On these dots is also a QR code that is scannable and will lead to the campaign website, where the ACLU Report along with other data will be featured.
We created several maps using Tableau to visualize the distribution of stop and frisk incidents amongst certain races; we focused on three main races: African American, Hispanic, and White. We did not include 2015 data since the data for 2015 in the FIO data set only contained a couple of months of stop and frisk data. In the distributions we mapped for the four years, it is pretty clear to see that there a significant amount of African Americans being stopped, even though only 25% of Boston’s population in 2010 were African Americans. Furthermore, the maps show that S&F incidents have not decreased, and that they continue to be distributed in pretty much the same way.
As seen on the maps from each of the four years, there were two streets that clearly had more stop and frisk incidents. This is what motivated our choice of Blue Hill Avenue for this campaign.
Future Improvements include: (1) Normalize/control data results for crime rate, gang membership, previous offenses and other variables (2) Replicating the experience on Dorchester Avenue (3) Think about a further call to action when people get on the website.
See our slideshow here.