NNIP Partners Visualize Public Safety Budgets to Inform City Spending Decisions

The Polis Center   (Indianapolis)
Community Information Now (CINow)   (San Antonio)
Urban Institute   (NNIP Coordinator)

August 2023

More communities are considering new public safety strategies outside of only policing and they need to understand their city’s current spending on safety to inform that conversation. Usually the data is locked up in multiple PDFs and agency websites and difficult to comprehend as a whole.

The Urban Institute (Urban), with funding from the Tableau Foundation, collaborated with two NNIP partners Community Information: Now and the Polis Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) to create data visualization tools displaying public safety budgets in each of their cities. Two other organizations - the North Carolina Justice Center, the North Carolina Statewide Police Accountability Network - also participated.

This work builds on previous work with the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, funded by the Tableau Foundation, to create and disseminate a data visualization tool of the District of Columbia public safety budget. This was complemented by an Urban Institute brief on strengthening non-police safety investments.

To complete this work, the groups completed trainings on using Tableau, collected public safety budget data, engaged with community organizations on the design and dissemination of data visualization tools, built data visualization tools, and disseminated tools publicly to the relevant communities. The work culminated in the publication of these tools, as well as forthcoming publications sharing lessons learned for this work across sites.