Big Data, Big Return

Data tool proves successful through innovative community project

The Neighbourhood Empowerment Team (N.E.T.) saw a large return after testing a made in Edmonton analytics tool.

This Contextual Analysis of Crime tool was developed by the City of Edmonton’s Analytic Centre of Excellence team and social workers after they realized the potential of the City’s geo-based open data and other public information like census data.

NET team during the implementation of the pilot project in Boyle

The team layered the open data information with crime statistics from the past several years, which allowed the team to create a list of 92 “rule-sets” that when observed in a community, increased the likelihood that crime may (or may not) occur.

Using the analytic tool, an area in the community of Boyle Street was chosen as the pilot site for an innovative community development project. The project organized staff around these “rule-sets” rather than driving more traditional approaches to mobilizing crime prevention.

One of the 11,000 square grids the City was separated into to collect data for the analysis tool

“This is definitely a considerable success for The Neighbourhood Empowerment Team (N.E.T.). The data tool provided insight into characteristics that might invite or reduce crime,” said Kris Andreychuk, Supervisor of Community Safety. “Using the rule sets, we were able to improve the use of certain resources, while connecting communities more effectively.”

Through analysis, the impact of the N.E.T. pilot project was monetized and a social value was calculated. A report found that for an investment of $326,845 by project partners, a minimum of $523,516 of social value was realized. This translates into a social return of $1.60 for every $1.00 invested.

Following the use of advanced analytics, several outcomes were achieved including:

  •        increased reports of crime and disorder, indicating increased interest in reporting crime
  •        increased appropriate use of police services by the community
  •        improved relationships with police and community
  •        reduced incidence of crime
  •        increased community connectedness
  •        increased youth engagement
  •        increased efficiency in responding to emerging issues
  •        increased sense of safety

Eager to build on this success, plans are already underway to update the Contextual Analysis of Crime tool and apply lessons learned says Andrew Pahl with the Family Centre.

“N.E.T. is a partnership that is constantly adapting to it’s environment. During the pilot staff, while working with community, identified areas where both the tool and our approach can be improved. We’re no stranger to change, so we’re eager to make the tweaks necessary to have a greater impact,” said Pahl.

Community residents and stakeholders who were involved in the project have engaged in a significant way to improve the safety and condition of their neighbourhood. Increasing knowledge and awareness of issues  has resulted in greater participation throughout the community which has contributed to the collective benefit and well-being of the neighbourhood.



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