Look Before You Analyze: Visualizing Data in Criminal Justice

  • Michael D. Maltz


Criminal justice data are hardly ever linear, normal, and/or independent, but most statistical techniques rely on the assumptions of linearity, normality and/or independence. Moreover, since the data are often entered by hand, they are prone to error. Plotting the data permits the analyst to determine the extent to which the assumptions are valid and to catch obvious errors in data entry. Moreover, while standard statistical techniques are useful in testing hypotheses, visualization allows the data to tell its story and thus is useful in generating hypotheses. This chapter provides some examples of how visualizing criminal justice data contributes to a fuller understanding of the processes that produced the data.


Police Department Crime Data Criminal Network True Zero Crime Count 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Over the years my research has been supported by the National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the American Statistical Association, which I acknowledge with gratitude. I am indebted to Andrew Gelman and Howard Wainer for their comments on earlier versions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael D. Maltz
    • 1
  1. 1.Criminal Justice Research CenterOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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