Data Visualization of Gun Violence in the United States

Posted on Apr 27, 2019
The skills the author demoed here can be learned through taking Data Science with Machine Learning bootcamp with NYC Data Science Academy.

Introduction:

Gun control and possession rights is one of the most controversial topics in the United States, mostly because of the associated violences and crimes that come with having guns as a weapon. It is difficult to find data statistics on gun violence and crime without the bias of third party organizations.

The goal of this app is to help the user visualize trends in gun violence incidents though various observations without bias. With a more broad understanding of the trends of gun violence, we can see where to actively target certain areas to help decrease the amount of gun violence in the future. 

Source:

Link: https://www.kaggle.com/jameslko/gun-violence-data

This dataset is sourced from Kaggle. The dataset is derived from web scrapping techniques on another third party site, gunviolencearchive.org . I, and NYC Data Science Academy, do not own this dataset or was involved with web scrapping it. For more information, please visit the provided links.

To aid in the analysis of this dataset, I used the Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2018 table. This gave the population size for each state, including the District of Columbia, to help accurately compare crime rates.

Data:

The dataset is 230,000+ gun related incidents that have been recorded on all states since March 2013, up to March 2018. This dataset was joined with population data in R Studio. The joined table was further cleaned with added columns for analysis. 

Overview:

We first start with a couple of overview plots to get a general idea of the dispersion of gun related crime incidents. 

We have a map of the continental US with markers for the locations of incidents based on the number of effected people. Affected people represent the number of people that were killed or injured during the event. The user is to select the number of affected persons per a given incident from the dropdown menu. We see in the image below the places with incidents with 3 affected persons.

Data Visualization of Gun Violence in the United States

The US Chart tab contains a chart of the number of incidents per every 100,000 people in each state. This chart takes into account population sizes in each state so that the number of incidents can be compared on an equal basis. We see below that the place with the most number of incidents is the District of Columbia, with 147.68 incidents per every 100,000 people. 

Data Visualization of Gun Violence in the United States

While this is a shockingly high number, DC is known for having incredibly high crime rates, mostly due to various drug wars and the striking wealth gap.  

Data on Different States:

The user is allowed to pick a state and look into the distribution of incidents for that state. Among the options include looking at the number of incidents from the years 2014 to 2017, as well as looking at the number of incidents by city or county. Only the top 20 cities/counties with the highest number of gun violence incidents are shown.

Note: District of Columbia does not have counties and cities. Although these numbers are not normalized by population in each city/county, cities with the highest number of people were NOT the places with the most number of incidents. Below, we see that in California, the city with the highest number of gun related incidents is Oakland, easily outdoing higher population areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

Furthermore, users can investigate the number of incidents and the number of homicides due to gun violence by month to examine the change in seasons. In the graph below, we can see a peak in the summer months for the number of gun related incidents in Connecticut in 2016.

Data Visualization of Gun Violence in the United States

Conclusion: 

In conclusion, this gun violence dataset gives us a broad overview of what gun related incidents look like around the United States. We are able to see some interesting results that may contradict some previous assumptions. Ultimately, I believe this dataset will be useful for people to get some solid insight on gun violence. 

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