MozFest 2017

Lessons learned from FBI’s first open source open data project

18F is a civic consultancy for the government, inside the government, working with agencies to rapidly deploy tools and services that are easy to use, cost efficient, and reusable. 🇺🇸

We ❤️ open data projects.

Open data is data that anyone can access, use, and share.

FBI crime data

In 1930, the FBI was tasked with collecting, publishing, and archiving the nation’s crime data.

Title 28 U.S. Code § 534

We need more transparency and accountability in law enforcement. We also need better, more informed conversations about crime and policing in this country. To get there, we are improving the way this nation collects, analyzes, and uses crime statistics and data about law enforcement’s use of force.

Director Jim Comey, 2015

Project plan

Who we talked to

Who is this for?

Spectrum of needs

Our approach


Key takeaways

Early and often feedback

Prototypes, not presentations

Build multiple roads to the data

* Interactive charts, maps, and tables

* Download data to CSV, Excel, JSON

* Programatic access via API

Put everything in context

* A sentence for every chart

* Plain language definitions

* Context in plain view

* Glossary on demand

A sentence for every chart

Glossary on demand

No compromises on core values

i.e., open source, human-centered design, agile methods

Release to learn

Expose your cracks, and
love will fill them


Visit Crime Data Explorer

Explore (& fork) our code

Reach out for questions