Kyla Williams Co-Presents Today at Philanthropy Ohio’s Annual Conference

Today, Leon Wilson, CIO of the Cleveland Foundation, and I will co-present at the Philanthropy Ohio’s annual conference with a theme this year of “Philanthropy Forward” and a concentrated discussion on Digital Civic Engagement & Community-Centered Design. Philanthropy Forward ’17 is set to inform practices, strategies and goals and connect peers in the field of philanthropy. The conference will also focus on the future of philanthropy with insight into the current state of the sector – fueled by recent research – addressing transitions, change and the leadership pipeline. With several networking and roundtable discussions, attendees will discover how to shift failures to successes, effectively fund advocacy and civic engagement and hear from  exceptional leaders across the state and country.

Leon and I also presented in April 2017 at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference “Leading Together” as part of a panel discussion with: Aaron Deacon, Managing Director, Kansas City Digital Drive; Elizabeth Reynoso, Assistant Director of Public Sector Innovation, Living Cities; and Lilly Weinberg, Program Director/Community Foundations, John S. & James L. Knight Foundation on “Supporting Civic Engagement through Technology and Community-Centered Design”. After finishing that presentation we decided more collaborative sharing between cities was necessary and lead to this opportunity at Philanthropy Ohio.

Community building in the digital era requires providing a space for the public sector and local communities to interact. Building solutions with peoplenot just for them – by using community-centered design can have profound social impact. This has been central to Smart Chicago’s work and has lead to the building of processes, products, services, and other lightweight tech solutions that have been helpful.

Our presentation today has the learning objectives:

  • To introduce different models developed in communities to address civic engagement digitally
  • To encourage the consideration of embedding support for digital civic engagement into existing grantmaking & advancement efforts

You can follow the happenings of the conference on Twitter @PhilanthropyOH and @SmartChgoKyla or by using the hashtag #PhilFWD17.


Good News!!! The Smart Chicago team is moving and now will be co-located with the City Digital Team at UI Labs. As such, our individual emails will be changing to:

Kyla Williams 

Sonja Marziano

Denise Linn     

Leslie Durr       

Our new mailing address is 1415 N. Cherry Avenue Chicago, IL 60642 and general phone number is 312.281.6900.

Please check our website at or follow us on twitter @smartchicago for more updates.

We appreciate your patience during this time of transition.

A Twitter-Based Review Crime & Punishment in Chicago


This is the raw content for a set of tweets we published today about our Crime & Punishment in Chicago project.

Our April 2014 Crime & Punishment in Chicago project is an index of criminal justice data:

Crime and Punishment in Chicago

We partnered with @CJPJustProj and Supreme Chi-Town Coding Crew from @freegeekchicago. The code is on Github, but the research is what matters.

This was a classic ecosystem project— we provided revenue, tech, and training for important journalists, researchers, and developers.

The intrepid @CivicWhitaker served as project manager for Crime & Punishment in Chicago:

We tracked data sources into 8 stages, from commission of a crime all the way to prison. We aggregate sources & discuss collection of data.

Then we categorize the data as “Open”, “FOIA”, or inaccessible. We cover status in Chicago, and highlight the best practice nationally.


Victimization: victimization.html. Many crimes go unreported. @TheJusticeDept made the NCVS to estimate the #s:

Crime & Punishment in Chicago: Victimization

Calls for service: The @ChicagoOEMC1 publishes no bulk data about calls for service.

Crime & Punishment in Chicago: Calls For Service

The @CJPJustProj has Chicago calls for service data from 2008-2012:

Chicago Justice Project calls For Service Data

The @DallasPD releases comprehensive call for service data: Includes units responding, link to map, and status

Dallas Police Calls For Service
Incidents: The @Chicago_Police crime incident data is exemplary cc/ @chicagocdo @CityChicagoCIO

Crime & Punishment in Chicago: Incidents

Arrests: No info about arrestees is published in Chicago.

Crime & Punishment in Chicago: Arrest

Henrico County @henriconews makes arrest data available online:

Crime & Punishment in Chicago: Henrico County, VA

Prosecute: State’s Attorney publishes no data online and we do not know what data they collect.

Crime & Punishment in Chicago: State's Attorney's Office

The State’s Attorney’s Office has been ruled to be exempt from FOIA cc/ @KimFoxxforSA @DonnaMore + @SAAnitaAlvarez:

Jail: Info on the 8,900 inmates in Cook County Jail cc/ @TomDart

Crime & Punishment in Chicago: Jail

Cook County Inmate Locator ( Some of this data is used by the 26th and California Project (

Raw Cook County Jail API via Supreme Chi-Town Coding Crew: Huge, important work.

Courts: The @CJPJustProj obtained 5 years of conviction data:

Crime & Punishment in Chicago: Courts

This @CJPJustProj data was used in our Convicted in Cook project:, again on concert with @freegeekchicago

Convicted in Cook

Prison: The IL Dep. of Corrections provides inmate search:

Crime & Punishment in Chicago: Prison

No bulk prison data is available in Illinois.

Oregon publishes prison data here: Includes forecasts & census of prison populations and admissions.

More work needed

If you are inspired by this project, or have any updates, please contact us.

A Fresh Look at Crime & Punishment in Chicago, our April 2014 website with Chicago Justice Project and FreeGeek Chicago

Tomorrow is the first public meeting of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force. According to their website, their primary mission is “to lay the foundation for the rejuvenation of trust between the police and the communities that they serve by facing hard truths and creating a roadmap for real and lasting transparency, respectful engagement, accountability and change.” In light of the launch of the taskforce, we’re bringing attention to our comprehensive website exploring the criminal justice system in Chicago— Crime and Punishment in Chicago, an index of criminal justice data in the region.

In April 2014, the Smart Chicago Collaborative launched Crime & Punishment in Chicago as part of our Civic Works Project, a program funded by the Knight Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust to spur and support civic innovation in Chicago.

Our essential partners were Chicago Justice Project, a nonprofit research organization, and FreeGeek Chicago‘s Supreme Chi-Town Coding Crew (SC3).

The core belief undergirding this project is that crime incident reports— the ubiquitous dots on many maps we’ve seen in this city going back decades— were not enough to create communion between the police and the people they serve.

We believe that access, skills, and data are key elements in a just society. In light of tomorrow’s meeting, and the three other meetings to be held this month, we are calling new attention to Crime & Punishment in Chicago and we will be tweeting about it here.

Crime and Punishment in Chicago

Two Projects in our Justice Program Covered in U.S. News & World Report

Today two of our Justice projects, Crime & Punishment in Chicago and Youth-Led Tech, were covered in a Washington Whispers item in U.S. News & World Report: Justice: There’s an App for That. Here’s a snip:

In Chicago, however, there are vivid examples of systemic and cultural challenges to the public’s right to know, even when the information is available.


Smart Chicago, a tech-based organization in the Windy City, tracks information from Chicago law enforcement – “the entire flow, from the commission of a crime to the person going to jail,” says Dan X. O’Neil, its executive director. “The impetus was that the city of Chicago publishes an enormous amount of crime data” that can be used to examine trends, The organization is also teaching computer coding and website development to kids in “neighborhoods most affected by violence and crime,” he adds. “That, we think, is one solution to mass incarceration and hopelessness and crime.”

U.S. News and World Report-- Justice: There's an App For That

Crime and Punishment Release Party at FreeGeekChicago

A couple weeks ago we had a party to celebrate our shared work with FreeGeek Chicago on the Crime and Punishment in Chicago project.  During the event, we heard from the people on the project team and got feedback on how the project can become even more helpful for community members, journalists, and policymakers.

I’m particularly proud of this project, because it takes a hard look at the gaping data holes we have in seeing the full cycle of crime in our city. I am very proud of the large cache of crime reports available on the City data portal, but I am mindful that we seem to be no closer in having a true understanding of the system.

In my work at EveryBlock, I was responsible for finding crime data in cities all over the country. It gave me a great window into the day-to-day reality of the data and the differences in what’s published. When we had the opportunity to partner with Tracy Siska of the  Chicago Justice Project as the main subject matter expert, and the community-based developers like Brian Peterson of the FreeGeek Chicago’s Supreme Chi-Town Coding Crew, I knew we had something special.

New 2013 CPD Ford Explorer Police Interceptor

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