After a month of data collection, I started taking a deeper looking into what the information collected and displayed on the Dakota County Inmate Dashboard can tell us [If you are not familiar with the Inmate Dashboard, click through and take a peek before continuing on].
One of the first things that you may notice right away are the large number of 18 to 24 year old white males being arrested. Being that Dakota County is 89%+ White (2008 data) and the median age (2007 data) is about 34, this was not a surprise to me at all.
The second thing you will notice is the huge spike that occurs on Monday with the number of people who are arrested in Dakota County. Wondering what would cause this, I contacted the county to verify that I was interpreting the data they provide correctly (I was). I was told that the arresting officers report is where this information is gathered so there is a small possibility that data entry error or human error could be involved but those should both be minimal. Knowing this, I took the Arrest Date and the Arrest Agency for this exercise and summed the totals from there. While the chart is for all cities in Dakota County, in my explanation below I will reference only the seven Dakota County cities I generally cover:
As you can see from the information provided (which is as of last week), most of the cities that I talk about most end up putting people away in county jail most often on Monday. Common sense would say that the majority of people would be arrested on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday nights leaving the weekends the most popular. Well, even two local police chiefs (Apple Valley and Burnsville–they were the only two who were willing to even respond to my e-mail asking for their thoughts on the subject. Boo on Hastings and Eagan!) thought the same thing and Chief Scott Johnson from Apple Valley even had his own data–only for all arrests, not necessarily for those that end up at county jail–to back it up. He said that they do more work on the weekends than any other time. The only real problems on Mondays are vandalism and burglary. Wednesdays are big days for shoplifting and domestic disputes are saved for the weekend. Tuesdays are generally pretty calm.
So why the difference? Aside from the fact that this is a pretty small sample and the Ns are low (728 records, 725 unique) I have no idea to be honest so that’s where you come in. Why do you think that there are so many arrests on Mondays? How about other information that we can glean from this report. What do you find most interesting about it? What do you think could be reported better?