Data Is Plural

... is a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets.

2016.01.06 edition

Fatal police encounters, language structures, New York City felonies, refugee arrivals in Europe, and one white glove.

One year of fatal police encounters. After it became clear that the federal government was doing an awful job of keeping track of how often police kill civilians, two newspapers started counting last year. According to The Guardian’s tally, U.S. police killed 1,136 people in 2015. The Washington Post’s count — which focused on shootings only and didn’t include off-duty officers — counted 984 deaths. Both organizations provide methodologies and downloadable datasets (including demographic and geographic details): Guardian / WaPo.

The World Atlas of Language Structures. This database compares the phonological, grammatical, and lexical properties of hundreds of languages. One dataset looks at languages’ counting systems. (Many use the decimal system, but Yoruba uses the vigesimal system and Danish uses a hybrid.) Others examine the use of tone, how you say “tea”, and whether there are different words for “finger” and “hand”. [h/t Jacqui Maher]

NYC felonies. The historically opaque New York Police Department has finally started publishing incident-level felony data — something that cities such as Chicago and Boston have done for years. The dataset includes the date, time, and approximate location of each offense. It currently covers the first nine months of 2015 and will (apparently) be updated quarterly. Don’t miss the footnotes in this PDF. Related: Some initial insights. Also related:Which Cities Share The Most Crime Data?” [h/t Dan Nguyen + Mark Silverberg]

Refugee arrivals along the Western Balkans route. The UN’s refugee agency is keeping track of daily refugee movements through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, and farther along into Europe. The downloadable data and interactive map cover migrations since October 2015.

The position of Michael Jackson’s white glove in all 10,060 frames of “Billie Jean.” Crowdsourced from his 1983 “Motown 25” performance. [h/t Nadja Popovich]