Occasionally, we get an odd request via the contact us form on our website. Most of the time, nothing comes of it; people find what they need elsewhere, or we don’t have what they are looking for. So, when we got a request for a research project that needed CrimeRisk for just one city, it piqued our interest.
For the first time ever, Columbus, Ohio is dividing their city council seats into districts, as up until now they have been at large representatives. The city council is also expanding from 7 seats to 9 seats, and 2023 will be the first election where citizens of Columbus can vote within this new system. Tim Fulton, an independent journalist, set out to explore the differences between the districts and inform the local electorate about the issues surrounding each district so that they can vote accordingly. According to Tim, “my mission was to shed light on the demographics of the new city council districts that are about to affect the electorate here, an area that had been largely overlooked. I wanted to empower individuals, organizations, and policymakers by providing accurate and comprehensive data, enabling informed decisions and targeted strategies.”
While he originally just wanted CrimeRisk, we expanded the number of variables quickly to include basic demographics and even Quality of Life, which Tim is working on incorporating into his website. The AGS team thought this was a unique project and were eager to help.
The result is one of the most unique use cases for our data to date. While we have helped journalists in the past with data, it has mostly been to frame stories or even rank cities. Never before had we embarked on a project to better a community through the democratic process. And so far, the data seems to be helping achieve the goals of the project. “The benefit of having a complete and reliable set of data cannot be overstated – it fosters more equitable representation, strengthens democracy, and drives positive change in our communities,” says Tim.
If you live in Columbus, be sure to vote on a name for your district on The Columbus Districts website.