Saturday, August 04, 2012

NVAT: Good News About Bad News

It's so easy to get fixated on bad news ... explosions are showy than flowers growing ... that it's good to notice that in many ways things are just getting better quietly.
One way is increased access to information. While it is true that many things are kept secret, yet the sheer volume of information available to the average person is vastly greater today than at any time in history, an it's increasing.
I was moved to ponder this when I read the following from a website I follow for my free CLE work:
The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) launched an interactive online tool that gives the public instant access to the largest collection of data on criminal victimization in the United States.
The NCVS Victimization Analysis Tool (NVAT) provides a direct and user-friendly way to work with 18 years of data about victims of crime. The tool makes it easy for people to find and use information from BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
The Quick Tables on the analysis tool’s home page allow users to view trends in violent and property crime at a glance. Users can also see estimates of the amount of crime reported and not reported to the police, and find tables of violent crime by victim-offender relationship. For more detailed analysis, users can create customized tables of national crime estimates, by year, type of crime, and other characteristics.
This dynamic web tool significantly enhances BJS’s ability to make crucial information more accessible to the public and bring data directly to users."
The tool can be found at /Now may you're interested in crime statistics, and maybe you're not. But if at some point you are, you don't have to file some sort of request for this information and wait weeks or months for a reply; you just go to the site and run a query, or perhaps parameterize one of your own. This is government being more efficient (setting up an online database is as much work as answering all those mail requests) and giving more information to We The People. Everyone wins ... so be happy!

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