American policing is over-reliant on punitive enforcement—that is, issuing someone an arrest or citation. This has significantly contributed to two of society’s most pressing ailments: mass incarceration and acrimonious community-police relations. To drive policy change and new policing practices, the Arrest Trends tool—available at http://arresttrends.vera.org—collates and visualizes publicly available but disparately located and difficult to analyze data on various law enforcement-related indicators. By making data accessible to policymakers and the public at large, this tool and its related reports are intended to generate knowledge and dialogue about the role of policing and highlight the extent to which local decisions about arrests might create disparities in criminal justice involvement and act as a primary driver of mass incarceration. Further, we hope Arrest Trends will promote and surface opportunities for alternative responses that help address the root causes of crime and strengthen police-community relationships.

Arrest Trends is supported by the Vera Institute of Justice’s Capital Campaign, Microsoft Cities Team—Civic Engagement, and the Charles Koch Foundation.