Map: Noise Complaint Increases in the City of Detroit 2017 – 2020

By: Sergio Brilanti-Martinez, Wayne State University (Intro to GIS, Fall 2020)

I pulled the dataset from the the city of Detroit open data portal. The dataset includes all 911 police emergency response and officer-initiated calls for service in the City of Detroit since September 20, 2016. I used Rstudio and the Tidyverse library to clean the data. The exact code and steps for cleaning can be seen here. Once the entire dataset was cleaned, I took all observations which were Noise Complaints and mapped them in ArcGIS Pro by matching up the Lat/Long columns as XY columns. In order to map the officer initiated variable it was a simple matter of opening up the symbology and choosing to symbolize by category. 

I started exploring the data with intent to find ways that citizen demand for policing was not well matched by supply of policing. While exploring the noise complaints data in RStudio I saw that there were many calls initiated by police officers as noise complaints. I found this dynamic interesting and became curious to understand if there were spatial patterns in where police officers initiated noise complaint calls. Turns out there are.  

The demand for noise complaint policing by citizens resides mostly in the areas around midtown where residential housing is very close to night-life activities. However, the noise complaints calls initiated by police do not match with the areas where residents make these calls. The other notable pattern is the dramatic increase in noise complaints initiated by citizens in 2019. The years of 2017, 2018, and 2020 show very similar geospatial distributions, although 2020 seems to have even more officer initiated calls in 2020 than 2017 and 2018. It is possible that due to lockdowns, officers are cracking down on oversized gatherings and labeling the incident a noise complaint related one. 

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