USAID LACHack: Use Open Data to Fight Crime

Central America is one of the world’s most violent regions. Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have the highest homicide rates in the world. These countries grapple with narco-trafficking, gang violence, corruption, the proliferation of guns, and weak government institutions. Can we leverage data to develop solutions to curb crime and violence? The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) thinks so.

USAID is gearing up for a call to civic action around open data for social good and violence prevention. It’s part of a larger goal: to  generate new insights from fifty years of program data and improve how data is collected and shared in the future. One team participating at the Open Data Day Hackathon in February focused on social media analysis of Mexico and Central America’s gangs and criminal leaders.

This week, USAID’s Bureau for Management, the U.S. Global Development Lab, and the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean are collaborating to host the first Open Data Hackathon focused on crime and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean. “LACHack” is a two-day event (Thurs 4/30 and Fri 5/1) that will build on the work that began in February. Objectives include:

  • looking at USAID funding flows related to crime and violence to determine what USAID currently collects and shares publicly,
  • reviewing how this data compares and is supported by high quality open datasets such as AmericaBarometer, and
  • determining what additional datasets are needed to improve policy and programmatic decision-making.

Technologists, journalists, designers, and others will use foreign assistance data, development evaluation data, social media, public opinion data, mapping data and more. You can participate online or in person at the OpenGov Hub in Washington, DC. USAID is also hosting  a Pre-Conference with data experts who will set the stage for the upcoming hackathon. Take part in the Live Twitter Chat today, Monday 4/27, at 3:30 Eastern time @GlobalDevLab. (See Agenda)

To bring about real change we need to enable a holistic, data-driven understanding of the security crisis. Sign up today for the hackathon and join in the effort to use open data to improve security in Central America.