United States Crime Rates 1960 to 2014

Week 5 Viz

Posted by David Velleca on April 8, 2018

Data Storytelling and Data Viz Approach

I wanted a clean and simple viz that showed 3 things at the same time:

  1. Crime rates over time
  2. Overall trend for the selected timeframe, and
  3. Crime rates by state

I achieved this with a tile map, using area charts to show the rates by year, with the color of the charts indicating the overall trend, and the charts in approximate geographical positions of the states. The metric that I chose to use - Property Crime Rates and Violent Crime Rates - are normalized at a per 100,000 population basis, so the tile map also helps to avoid inadvertently misrepresenting data due to the size of a state.

Data Notes

The data in this dataset contains a variety of caveats, all of which can be found here. The biggest notes to take into consideration are: the data are estimates; the New York data begins in 1965 (whereas all other states begin in 1960); the methodology for recording rape changed in 2013, where in previous years rapes were only included in the statistics if they met the previous definition of 'forcible rape' - details on crime definitions can be found here.

Data Source

This week's dataset comes from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Data Tool.