What's next

The nation’s current approach to public safety overly applies arrests without a full accounting of the social and financial costs associated with this widespread practice. The launch of Arrest Trends marks Vera’s most recent effort to reduce the criminal justice system’s footprint, this time by unlocking key policing data and thus elevating the narrative of overreliance on arrests and the need for viable alternatives. Vera anticipates that the outcomes of Arrest Trends’ launch will include:

  • surfacing national arrest trends that were previously not well known;
  • highlighting communities that are making positive changes to their enforcement practices;
  • enabling peer learning across communities and various stakeholders; and
  • increasing access to and transparency of policing data.

In future phases of Arrest Trend’s development, Vera intends to expand upon the tool by:

  • developing a “create your own report” function, whereby users can explore specific research questions and access comprehensive arrest information on an agency or location of their choice;
  • enabling Arrest Trends visuals to be embedded into other mediums, including social media platforms;
  • expanding map functionality to also show data at a local agency level and other important geographic areas (such as congressional districts);
  • incorporating census data at the agency level to present arrest disparities across demographic and socioeconomic groups at a more localized level;
  • including crime data to explore and better understand the relationship between, and impacts of, crime and arrests;
  • integrating Law Enforcement Management and Statistics (LEMAS) data to inform how agency size, priorities, training, infrastructure, management, and other characteristics impact arrests;
  • building out the capacity to compare agencies based on additional factors such as proximity, population demographics, and more; and
  • allowing users to develop and save tailored queries and personal profiles.

Vera will prioritize the development of these features based on user experiences and the field’s most pressing needs.

Vera also plans to publish subsequent reports that dive into additional significant and nuanced findings from Arrest Trends, such as which agencies most contribute to high arrest volumes, which have shown marked improvements and why, and where the greatest demographic disparities exist. Perhaps most importantly, this tool will help identify agencies with which to collaborate in developing and testing alternative-to-arrest policies and practices. To transform the nation’s policing practices, we must first understand them. Arrest Trends seeks to unlock this important information and make it accessible for all people who are involved with and care about the American criminal justice system.