New and Noteworthy

BJS Report on Arrest-Related Deaths: True Number Likely Much Greater

(This post is co-authored by Patrick Ball and Kristian Lum.)

Today the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released a report on their effort to document “all deaths that occur during the process of arrest in the United States.” The analysis estimates that the Arrest-Related Deaths (ARD) program covers only 34-49% of these deaths. A parallel program by the FBI (the Supplementary Homicide Reports, SHR) is estimated to cover approximately the same proportion of deaths. Even taking into consideration both programs, 28% of all police homicides remain unreported.

In order to estimate the total number of homicides that appear on neither the ARD or SHR databases, the report relies upon a statistical technique that we at HRDAG regularly employ to estimate the number of undocumented conflict-related deaths: multiple systems estimation. The BJS analysts had only two databases available to them (the ARD and the SHR); HRDAG generally uses three or more databases. (more…)

The Great Lessons in Research at the Archive

GT-aphn-2015-armoireDoing an investigation on the contents of the Archive brought with it three major lessons. The first big lesson was the constant movement (nothing was static), The second great lesson was that everything evolved (the changes were a constant). The third major lesson was to discover how two institutions can work together while geographically far apart.

The constant movement

As there were other processes being carried out at the Archive, everything was in constant movement. In other words, one day the documents were in X location and tomorrow they may be in location Y or dispersed in multiple locations. This made it impossible to know with certainty the time it would take to extract a representative sample for the quantitative analysis. Ultimately, 11 different samples were designed, which made it possible to interrupt or suspend the process at any time without altering the analysis process. (more…)

Evaluation of the Kosovo Memory Book

Kosovo War Memorial, Pristina / C. POLI, 2012.

Kosovo War Memorial, Pristina / C. POLI, 2012.

At the end of 2014 we completed the evaluation of the Kosovo Memory Book database and are pleased to conclude that the database has succeeded in documenting all or nearly all the human losses during conflicts in Kosovo during the period from 1998 to 2000.

With a motto of “Let people remember people,” the goal of the Kosovo Memory Book (KMB) is to document all people who were killed or disappeared in connection with the war in Kosovo. The project aimed to document (more…)

Yezidi Activists Teach HRDAG about Human Rights – updated

Patrick Ball with Yezidi boys at an informal camp in Sharya, Iraq.

Patrick Ball with Yezidi boys at an informal camp in Sharya, Iraq.

UPDATE (21 Dec 2014): Juan Cole is reporting that the Kurdish militia (the peshmerga) have retaken Shingal (also known as Sinjar) mountain where many Yezidi people have been trapped since 3 August 2014. They are now moving to liberate other Yezidi towns south of the mountain. The Yezidi people trapped on the mountain are now free. There is no word yet on the thousands of Yezidi people enslaved by ISIS.

ORIGINAL (19 Nov 2014): Farhad (not his real name) got the call from ISIS on his personal cell phone just after lunch: we have your sister, and we will give her back if you pay us $6000, plus $1500 for the driver.

Carrying little more than his phone, a few clothes, some food, and helping his parents, Farhad and his family left his village in the Shingal municipality of Iraq three months ago when the multinational Islamist extremists of ISIS came. As they fled, his sister had gotten separated and was captured by ISIS.

(more…)

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  • > Recent Stories


    BJS Report on Arrest-Related Deaths: True Number Likely Much Greater

    The Great Lessons in Research at the Archive

    Evaluation of the Kosovo Memory Book

    Yezidi Activists Teach HRDAG about Human Rights – updated

    Syria: No word on four abducted activists

    Revisiting the analysis of event size bias in the Iraq Body Count

    The AHPN: Home of Stories Old and New

    Release of Yellow Book Calls on Salvadoran Military to Open Archives

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    Patrick Ball Honored as New ASA Fellow


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    You are welcome to use these datasets for your research. If you publish with them, however, we ask that you include the following text: "These are convenience sample data, and as such they are not a statistically representative sample of events in this conflict.  These data do not support conclusions about patterns, trends, or other substantive comparisons (such as over time, space, ethnicity, age, etc.)."

    For reference and further information please see this blogpost about raw data and this blogpost about convenience samples. In addition, we recommend you read the following: Dorofeev, S. and P. Grant (2006). Statistics for Real-Life Sample Surveys. Cambridge University Press; and van Belle, Gerald (2002). Statistical Rules of Thumb. Wiley.

    If you use these data, please cite them with the following reference: