Catalyzing Policing Reform with Data

Research Report

Catalyzing Policing Reform with Data

Policing Typology for Los Angeles Neighborhoods


Strong community-police relationships are essential to public safety, and these relationships influence how communities engage with the police. We created a typology based on multiple aspects of policing that reveals a relationship between resident-initiated and police-initiated activity, and explores how that relationship varies across neighborhoods. We found that resident calls for service and police stops and arrests generally increase together, and neighborhoods with high amounts of activity tend to have a greater proportion of violent crime and serious calls for service. The neighborhoods with high activity also tend to have wider racial disparities in stops and arrests, and more economic hardship. This neighborhood-policing typology can inform conversations about police reform in Los Angeles and also serve as an example of how open data can be a powerful tool for local movements for a more equitable criminal justice system in other cities. Read the blog post on Urban Wire for highlights from the report.

Explore the Data and Methods

To visualize the levels of resident and police-initiated activity and explore patterns across Los Angeles neighborhoods, see the interactive tool that accompanies this report.

The open data come from the Los Angeles Open Data Portal, the American Community Survey, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. A companion Technical Appendix describes the data sources and methods, and the code for processing and analyzing the data is on GitHub.

About the Project

The analysis was conducted in collaboration with the Microsoft Criminal Justice Reform team, the Microsoft Data Science and Analytics team, and the University of Southern California’s Sol Price Center for Social Innovation.

This neighborhood-policing typology is part of a larger criminal justice project of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP), which is a learning network coordinated by the Urban Institute that connects independent partner organizations in 30 cities. NNIP’s mission is to ensure all communities can access data and have the skills to use information to advance equity and well-being across neighborhoods. A previous brief highlights how local organizations across the US are using data to explore criminal justice issues in their communities.


To reuse content from Urban Institute, visit, search for the publications, choose from a list of licenses, and complete the transaction.