Analyzing Data from Douglas County Illinois
As a part of the data collection process for the lab’s analysis of the adjudication of human trafficking in Illinois, I have recently analyzed arrest records for Douglas County, with a specified focus on cases pertinent or possibly relating to human trafficking. When focusing on cases, I had a clear list of relevant arrest types, primarily focusing on domestic violence arrests, sexual violence arrests, and sex crimes in general. When analyzing Douglas County’s data, it was intriguing to see the particular aspects of data that Douglas County requires when reporting arrests. Specifically, the race of arrestees was not recorded for the entirety of the records analyzed. This is interesting, as race and gender are particular aspects of the arrest data that we attempt to analyze. Thus, Douglas County’s records are much less thorough than many other counties in Illinois, as the majority require the reporting of the race of the arrestees. In addition to this interesting finding, the Douglas County data has particular patterns that are interesting to analyze. In particular, the prevalence of sexual violence arrests is particularly concentrated to sexual violence against minors. In addition, there is a clear pattern of the gender of arrestees, with men appearing significantly more than females in relevant cases. Moreover, the cases involving females are all domestic battery assaults, with no explicitly sexual or soliciting charges. This adds an interesting layer to the analysis of the cases in Douglas County, with the data skewing drastically towards men committing sexual crimes in the county.
Another interesting aspect of the Douglas County data is the prevalence of recidivist offenders for identical/similar crimes. There were multiple instances of arrestees recorded as being arrested for domestic battery and later charged with sexual crimes. While these two arrests can indicate separate crimes with a singular perpetrator, I believe it may be more realistic to view these arrests as singular occurrences with further charges added, resulting in additional arrests. Thus, it will be beneficial to further research these specific arrests to attempt to identify whether multiple or a singular crime has occurred.
The final interesting finding form Douglas County’s data is the uptick in relevant cases in 2010. Before 2010, there were typically 1-5 cases relevant to our research. After 2010, the relevant case number increased exponentially, further adding the number of relevant cases each year. I tend to believe that this uptick in relevant cases isn’t actually evident as an actual increase in relevant cases, but rather, an increase in the number of arrests actually made relevant to the crimes. n other words, the uptick in reported cases relating to human trafficking is most likely attributed to better policing in Douglas County, not necessarily an exponential increase in these crimes occurring. This brings into question the efficacy of the Douglas County policing quality before 2010.