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South Bend launches new data hub with crime stats

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg shows off a new data portal. // WSBT 22 photo

Have you ever wanted to look up where crime is happening in your area? If you live in South Bend now you can.

City leaders unveiled a new data portal Wednesday, and it's for people in the community. This database examines a lot of things in addition to crime, like the way policing is done -- including how many times police had to use force when responding to calls.

City leaders say they want to put the numbers out there to build trust in the community. Every day, South Bend police officers enter case reports, and now those cases will be entered into one more database: the police department's transparency hub.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg says it will make the community stronger.

"We really think that we'll do better if we know that residents are empowered to ask questions, even difficult questions, based on the facts that they get about what's going on in the community that we share,” said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

The hub has a lot of information on it. It breaks down where crime happens in the city and what type of crime is happening.

It also has interactive graphs and maps. They compare things like fatal shootings, homicides. and the number of times police had to use force when answering a call.

Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski says it not only helps community members but officers, too.

"It's as important as anybody in the community to look at these facts and figures as it is for the officers. So how do we measure success? How do we measure a need for something we need to expand on, look further into? And this is one of the ways of doing it,” Ruszkowski said.

The portal shows community complaints about police, but it also shows community compliments, something Mayor Buttigieg says he gets a lot of.

"Those often don't grab headlines. Police officers do remarkably good and hard work every day, but we don't hear about that as much,” Buttigieg said. “We hear about those cases where there's a problem."

Ruszkowski says he and his officers are happy to have feedback.

"If it's not good enough or it may not be good enough, let's have the conversation how do we make it good enough,” Ruszkowski said.

Buttigieg says these are some of the most sensitive and challenging areas to talk about, but he thinks sharing it will make South Bend better. He also hopes it will expand to other areas of public safety and not just police.

Readers can access the hub at police.southbendin.gov/datahub.



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