D3’s data systems project manager and public safety analyst, Erica Raleigh, has been with the organization for nearly its entire existence. She was hired in early 2009 to compile the One D scorecard; since then, she has managed and contributed to projects including Detroit Kids Data, the Center for Michigan scorecard, the Woodward Corridor Initiative, and D3’s internal Data Management Enhancement.
During that period, Erica completed the Master of Urban Planning program at Wayne State University. The program culminated with the development of her thesis, “Crime and Vacant, Open, and Dangerous Housing.” It uses a block-by-block analysis to determine the relationship between vacant, open, and dangerous (VOD) housing and different types of crime.
Raleigh found that some types of crime (e.g. robbery, vandalism, and assault) but not others (e.g. burglary) were strongly correlated with VOD housing. It was only the second study conducted to examine VOD housing specifically and find that it correlated with crime more strongly than vacant housing alone. “Data was the fun part,” said Erica of her writing process. “Developing the theory was crucial, but it was more onerous.”
“I like being able to ask a question and then attack it,” she says, “so being paid to do research at D3 is my ideal job.”