When the City of Ithaca set out to reimagine public safety two years ago, building a better relationship between residents and police was the top priority. As part of that effort the Ithaca Police Department developed an online data dashboard and gave the public access to it on June 8.
In a statement released to the media, Acting IPD Chief John Joly said, “There is a ton of information available here and we are excited to share this with the public.” He continued saying, “...it’s just to be transparent, we wanted to be able to provide the citizens with a window into what happens, what the Ithaca Police Department is doing, and what their tax dollars are paying for.” However, he also said that “it’s important for people to understand the limitations of our resources.”
The dashboard can be found on the City of Ithaca website at https://www.cityofithaca.org/752/Community-Dashboard and includes up to date information about police calls, responses, and arrests going as far back as 2019. The dashboard also provides the public with information regarding the number of officers that respond to a scene. According to Joly, the number of officers responding to an average call is down as a result of staffing shortages. The information can be filtered by year, location and call type and is updated on a weekly basis, every Tuesday at midnight.
The dashboard is designed to increase community oversight of IPD and will allow community members to gain an understanding of the types of calls IPD responds to as well as the volume of calls. It also provides information about where calls are coming from and how many of those calls result in arrests.
At the time of writing, the dashboard indicates that since January 2022 there have been 13,490 total calls made to IPD and 496 of them–or 3.7%–have resulted in arrests being made. The overwhelming majority of calls, which according to the dashboard is 96.3%, do not result in arrests being made.
The most common response locations have been at the Ithaca Arthaus, West Village apartments, Walmart, 7 Eleven, Cayuga Gardens Apartments, Wegmans, the St. Johns Center and the Ithaca Commons. While arrests aren’t made often, the majority occur at Walmart followed by 7Eleven, Ithaca Arthaus, Wegmans Grocery, West Village Apts, and the Dandy Mini Mart.
IPD Sergeant Mary Orsaio, who presented the dashboard to the Common Council’s Reimagining Special Committee, explained that when the Ithaca Police Department is listed as a response location, as it is in the largest number of calls (764), it is because the call was made to the IPD or someone physically came into the IPD.
Orsaio said the data shown on the dashboard is compiled from IPD’s InTime timekeeping software and its Spillman records management software and is operated using Microsoft Power BI. Orsaio also noted that there are roll over help boxes and a tutorial video available to help citizens understand how to access data.
The dashboard does not, at present, offer a mapping feature. The Ithaca Times has taken the data from the dashboard and created a map of the top locations for calls and arrests.
When you explore the IPD Dashboard the ways calls are described might be confusing. Here’s a guide to what those terms mean, based on the original report prepared by the Reimagining Public Safety Working Group. These are not an exact match for the Call Types used in the IPD’s Dashboard, but they provide enough information to help understand what the terms in the dashboard mean.
- •911 Call Hang-up: Calls relating to 9-1-1 calls that are terminated by the caller before they are answered, and 9-1-1 calls that are terminated by the caller after they are answered by a dispatcher.
- •911 Call with No One Talking: Calls related to a 911 call and the line is open with no one speaking.
- •Animal Bites: Calls related to an animal biting a person.
- •Animal Problem: Calls related to animals that are either in danger or pose an immediate threat to the public.
- •Assault: Calls related to the unlawful attack by one person upon another.
- •Assisting another Gov. Resource: Calls relating to assisting another agency or resource.
- •Bad Check: Calls related to a person attempting to use a check with insufficient funds to cover the check.
- •Bomb Threat: Calls related to a threat to bomb.
- •Breathing Problem: Calls related to a person experiencing breathing problems.
- •Burglary: Calls related to the unlawful entry into a building or other structure with the intent to commit a theft.
- •Cardiac Arrest: Calls related to a person experiencing reported cardiac arrest.
- •Chest Pain: Calls related to a person experiencing chest pains.
- •Child Abuse: Calls related to the act of willful harm to a child.
- •Civil Complaint: Calls that relate to complaints not criminal in nature.
- •Criminal Mischief: Calls related to the destruction of property.
- •Dead Body: Calls relating to the scene of death; differs depending on whether medical attention or CSI (crime scene investigation) is needed.
- •Disorderly Conduct: Calls relating to public activity or behavior that's offensive or disruptive and interrupts other people's ability to enjoy a public space.
- •Dispute: Calls to investigate a dispute between individuals.
- •Domestic: Calls related to disturbances or assaults involving adult members of a domestic relationship
- •Drugs: Calls related to illegal narcotics.
- •EMS: Calls related to assisting EMS units.
- •Escort: Calls relating to police escorts.
- •Fire Outside: Calls related to a fire outdoors.
- •Fireworks: Calls related to illegal, hazardous, or noisy fireworks.
- •Fraud: Calls related to the use of deceit to induce an entity to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right.
- •Harassment: Calls related to reports of being the subject of ongoing unwanted contacts.
- •Hazmat: Calls related to hazardous materials
- •Headache: Calls related to a person experiencing a headache.
- •House Alarm Triggers Police: Calls relating to home alarms auto-triggering police.
- •Information: Calls related to general inquiries
- •Injured Person: Calls related to medical conditions or injuries which may or may not be the result of a crime or accident.
- •Intoxication: Calls related to intoxicated individual(s).
- •Local Law: Calls relating to municipal code violations.
- •Missing Person: Calls relating to missing person reports.
- •Noise Complaint: Calls relating to excessive or bothersome noise.
- •Parking Problem: Calls related to illegal or hazardous parking.
- •Personal Injury Accident: Calls related to a vehicle collision in which someone is injured as a result.
- •Property Check: Calls to check a property for signs of break in while the owners are not present.
- •Property Complaint: Calls relating to complaints regarding private property.
- •Psychiatric: Calls related to mental health.
- •Public Health Complaint: Calls related to a public health related event.
- •Recovered Vehicle: Calls to investigate a vehicle reported stolen.
- •Repossessed Vehicle: Calls related to vehicles being repossessed.
- •Robbery: Calls related to the taking or attempt to take anything of value from the control, custody, or care of another person by force or intimidation.
- •Service Call: Calls related to needs for police service.
- •Sex Offense: Calls related to any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent or reports of unlawful, non-forcible sexual intercourse.
- •Shots Fired: Calls related to reports of hearing gunshots with no indication of a victim.
- •Sick Person Calls related to a person feeling sick.
- •Special Detail: Calls relating to special events and investigations, etc.
- •Stabbing: Calls related to a person being stabbed with an object.
- •Suspicious: Calls related to reports of suspicious persons, vehicles, or circumstances.
- •Theft: Calls related to the unlawful taking of property from the possession of another entity.
- •Traffic Accident: Calls to investigate a motor vehicle collision.
- •Traffic Complaint: Calls related to problem intersections or speeding.
- •Traffic Offense: Calls related to violation of the motor vehicle code.
- •Transport: Calls related to police car needs for transport.
- •Traumatic Injury: Calls related to reported injured person.
- •Trespassing: Calls to investigate a person unlawfully on another's property.
- •Unclassified: Calls that do not fit in any predetermined category.
- •Unconscious: Calls related to investigating the report of an unconscious person
- •Unsecured Premise: Calls related to investigating a premise with an unsecured door or window.
- •Vehicle Fire: Calls related to a fire involving a vehicle.
- •Warrant: Calls related to court issued warrants.
- •Weapons: Calls related to weapons, people being in the possession of or a found weapon.
- •Welfare Check: Calls related to requests to check on the health or safety of a subject.