{PODCAST} In-Ear Insights: Data-Driven Decisions and Social Good

In this week’s In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris look at the upcoming release of hate crime data analysis and broader implications. When data collection is flawed or missing, how do you still make decisions? What do you do when you have to do something because lives are on the line, but you lack enough data? Plus, they discuss using your powers for good; what can you do to make a difference? Quite a bit.


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{PODCAST} In-Ear Insights: Data-Driven Decisions and Social Good

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.

Christopher Penn
In this week’s In-Ear Insights, we’re talking about a project that we’ve been working on for over a year now, regarding the analysis of hate crime data that is published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI in their Uniform Crime reporting, report. And in light of the many different current events, the fact that June is Pride Month in the United States and around the world, that we take a look more at some of the data and discuss the importance of making sure that the data we used to make decisions for anything, business, society social good, is reliable, and is something that we can take action on. So I want to start this up. Katie, how, how strongly Do you believe in the general concept of you measure what you imagined if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

Katie Robbert
I feel very strongly in it. However, I feel Like, there are going to be great areas. And so we know that things like hate crimes are vastly underreported. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t continue to try to manage it. You know, I think what ends up happening is, you know, and this is my speculation, I’m not an FBI detective. But my assumption is that there’s so many things happening, that paperwork and reporting is probably the lower priority, as opposed to actually getting out there and trying to take action and make changes and, you know, help people. So it’s, it’s not a black and white, you have to have the data in order to manage the problem that said, if you have no data, then you can you cannot effectively manage the problem at all you need to have some kind of understanding of the magnitude of the issue. And so, you know, again, unfortunately, we know that hate crimes are drastically underreported for a variety of reasons, it might be that the person who is affected by it is not reporting it. The person who is responding to it is not, you know, logging it or reporting it, the systems that it’s getting reported into are not connected to anything else besides themselves. There’s a variety of reasons why these things are not reported. And you know, you can draw those parallels back to any company who is doing their due diligence to collect data, but in this context, we are focused specifically on hate crimes.

Christopher Penn
Mm hmm. One of the things that surprised me when I was looking into this data is the low level of actual reporting. So there’s a legal framework, which is does the state have laws against hate crimes, and then is that state required to We provide data to the federal government. And what shocked me was there are around 37 states, I think, that are known about 30 states that have hate crime laws and are required to collect data on them and submit them. There are an additional 16 states that have hate crime laws, but do not require data collection. So it’s optional for state and local police to collect data and then there’s forces that just don’t have anything on the books. So they’re like, no, we’re not going to try. But even in those states, where it is required, that the level of reporting and compliance with that data collection is extremely low. One of the tables that the FBI provides is percentage of police departments and authorities that are reporting. The highest percentage of compliance is the state of Connecticut, where out of 97 police departments and authorities 34 submit data. This is a 35% compliance rate. Then you get down to, you know, some states like Wyoming and Alabama, they submitted no data whatsoever, like, Nope, nothing happened here. And so when you have systems that are not reporting data, what’s the what’s the solution? what’s the what’s some ways to think about getting around this? Because we know there are problems. One look at today’s headlines tells you very clearly, there are problems everywhere. It’s not Oh, it’s just, it’s just that that state’s problem over there. So we’re fine. No, it’s every place in the country. What are some things that you would advise, you know, an activist, a, a social good organization, like, hey, the data is missing, but you know, this problem? What are some options?

Katie Robbert
Well, you know, one of the words that you mentioned was governance. And I want to be clear, when I’m speaking about governance, in this context, I’m not talking about the government. I’m talking Just about data governance, which is really setting up those checks and balances and procedures, and accountability. And that as you’re talking through that only a certain amount of states have these regulations. But the compliance level is really low. That to me says that there is a process issue where there is nobody saying, hey, you didn’t submit your data. This is the process. Is there a problem? You know, how do we get this data back? And you know, I’m very much over simplifying it. Because I don’t know the inner workings of any of these states. And what’s really going on there, but from a high level, that’s where I would start is what is the process for getting the information from the person dealing with the situation into the system into the larger database of information, so if you think about it in that three step process, very similar to You know, if you’re working on your customer experience, how do you get the information from the customer into the right system into the larger report to have that full picture of what’s going on? process wise, this is really no different. And so if you’re thinking about it in terms of, you know, hey, I’m seeing that there’s a problem with the data, reach out to those states, you know, I’m sure that, you know, we can provide some resources to say, you know, if you’re seeing issues with this data, reach out to this particular Bureau, this state organization, you know, speak up and say, Hey, it looks like you’re missing some data. The worst that they can say is No, we’re not. And then just go about your day. But if that if you’re worried, as you should be that there’s missing information. That’s where I would start. And I think that that’s obviously something that when we do these analysis, analyses, we do that and we reach out to these organizations. And say, we took a look at the publicly available data, we noticed as data scientists that there’s some inaccuracies or some anomalies here. Can you help us understand why that is?

Christopher Penn
Yep. And then table 13 from the Uniform Crime report, which we’re gonna put links into the accompanying blog posts. So if you want to look at the state, I would encourage you to look at the state of yourself. It actually breaks it down to the city level. So this is something that anyone who is interested can pick up this spreadsheet is just an Excel spreadsheet. It’s nothing fancy, it doesn’t require any fancy tools. Look at your town. In here we go, Hmm. Why is my town reporting zeros for everything? Do we actually have no hate crimes in, you know, q1 of 2018. You can go talk to your local chief of police nicely, you know, in a civil productive way, and say, How are you folks handling the reporting of data? Is that something that perhaps you can even volunteer say Hey, would you like some Help filling out the FPS forums. Right? If you can take apart as a citizen analyst, in improving the reporting in your community, you help the overall problem be solved because you are now adding good information into the system. And that’s something that people will understand, oh, this is something you can use to make decisions, your town’s mayor or your town’s, you know, town council, whatever, can look at the state and go Oh, actually, yeah, we do have a problem here. Now, there will be some places and some municipalities where people will say, we don’t want to see the problem. And now you have the ability to go and say, Okay, well for the person who’s running against you in the next election. Hey, did you know that this person said we have absolutely no interest in civil rights? And then say, Oh, is that something you’d like to add to your campaign issues even if you do A little more than doing the analysis and reaching out to your elected officials, you are doing something to advance the cause forward. And I think one of the things we’re talking about before we started today’s episode was, what can you do with a lot of this? A lot of what’s going on? Yes, absolutely. Donate to organizations that are impacted. Yes, absolutely. Educate yourself and understand the scope of the issues. But once you’ve done that, you can also use whatever your particular skills are, whether it’s data analysis, governance, outreach, social media, marketing expertise, whatever it is that you’re good at. You can take that and put it to good use towards a cause towards something like improving civil rights. And I don’t want that point to get lost that whatever your capabilities are, you have the ability to use them for social good. You actually can chat a bit about the to how we think about social good because I think it’s not about, definitely want to say no, this is the right way to do it’s not. It’s what we’ve chosen because it’s what we have to offer.

Katie Robbert
It, I do, I do want to talk about it and I apologize in advance if I get emotional because it is everything is very emotional right now and I am an emotional person. You know, we try to approach social good in a very simplistic way of doing well and doing right by everybody else. And so always trying to be honest, trying to be fair, trying to be as unbiased as possible, trying to be as transparent as possible, really trying to collect as much information as we can before forming, you know, a solid opinion and putting that stake in the ground, making sure that you know, our research is well rounded. And so in terms of social good, you know, we try To pay it forward as much as we possibly can. And so, as Chris was talking about, what skills do you have, we often look at where our collective skill sets. And so Chris is obviously very strong in data investigation and data analysis. And so, Chris, you spend a lot of time looking at these types of datasets, you’ve been doing that a lot for the pandemic. And now you’re starting to, you know, it’s our it’s our yearly annual look at hate crime data, which is really an unfortunate thing to say that it’s an annual thing, but it is because hate crime is not going away anytime soon. And the information is only getting, you know, deeper and larger. And so, what we try to do with the resources that we have is just try to educate and help people understand. Here’s what’s going on. From our perspective. Here’s what we have been able to put together. And here’s a list of resources. So that you can then take this information and do what you want to with it. We don’t want to tell people how to feel how to think, how to act. That’s not our job. It’s really nobody’s job. It’s you, as an individual need to take all of the information available to you, and make your own informed decisions. And so we are trying to help individuals make informed decisions based on the information available. And so when we talk about social good, that is what we’re trying to do. A few years back, Chris, you did an analysis of why people didn’t vote in an election. You didn’t approach it as you have to vote, you have to do this. You are providing the information to say, here’s what happened and why people didn’t vote. And so if we see the top five reasons why people didn’t vote, here are some potential solutions for you to go activate that voter base and with this information It’s very much the same. It’s here’s the information that’s going on in your state, your city, your town, here’s some additional resources to do something about it. You know, you brought up a really good solution, which is volunteer, so volunteer to help make these things actual volunteer to help get the data all in one place, volunteer at an organization who is struggling because of everything that’s happening.

Christopher Penn
Exactly. We know that at Well, everybody knows that. A lot of the nonprofits and the social good organizations out there because of the pandemic, are seeing fewer donations, people who are not able to contribute as much financially. But on the flip side, there’s the opportunity to contribute your skills, your app, your efforts. If you can, you know watch one less night of Netflix, you can you can add some value to these organizations in some way and Even if it’s not with an organization, as an individual citizen, one of the things you can do is, is look at the information and say, What can I do in my community? the good and the bad of things like dealing with hate crimes is that they’re everywhere. There’s no place that is immune from Unless, you know, like you literally live in a mountain top. And there’s nobody else in your zip code, which would I think there’s a few places like Alaska, though, like that. Other than that, everybody has a neighborhood, everybody has a community. You don’t have to fix the world. You don’t have to fix the United States and you cannot fix, you know, the federal government, but you absolutely can get to know your town, you can absolutely get to know your neighbors. And you can absolutely in a civil and productive way, engage with your local officials to say, here’s some things that I saw. Do you guys need some help with it? Is there something that You know, lots of help with the paperwork. And so I would say to wrap up, take what’s going on right now. However you are affected by it, and use it as motivation to help make things better. You have skills, you have a network, you have digital capabilities, you’re listening to this by default, you have digital capabilities. Please put them to work, please put them to work to make the world a better place. And it doesn’t have to be on this particular cause, though those certainly is welcome. But there are so many ways from dealing with hunger, dealing with injustice, dealing with diseases, dealing with medical care and access. There are so many ways and so many different things. So find something that you care about, but you want to see made better in your community and use your skills for that.

Katie Robbert
I feel faulted that. I’m sorry. I would add to that, that. I think that where a lot of of us are myself included is sort of that analysis paralysis of there’s so many things happening, I want to make a difference. The gesture that you make doesn’t have to be a large one, it can be a small gesture, it can be showing kindness to your neighbor showing kindness in your community. That’s a start. That’s already, you know, moving the movement forward.

Christopher Penn
Absolutely. You don’t have to save everyone. But if you save someone, you’ve made a gigantic difference in the world. So if you have follow up questions, or you want to chat about this, feel free to join our slack group analytics for marketers over at dot AI slash analytics for marketers. And if you want to ask questions like, Hey, this is an issue I would like to engage with, drop them by slack and ask us because we may be able to offer some suggestions, things that we’ve seen data repositories we know about that could help you advance your work in that cause. As always, thank you for listening. We’ll talk to you soon. Take care Help solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems, visit Trust today and let us know how we can help you

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