Student Fellowship

Reimagining Public Safety: Analyzing Data to Provide Proactive, Effective, and Efficient Service Delivery

Project Area:

Public Safety


Hampton, Virginia

Reporting to:

Assistant City Manager

The Challenge

City leaders in Hampton, VA seek to better incorporate aspects of public safety other than law enforcement into their overall approach. For example, providing safe, healthy, and hopeful communities where individuals can realize their true potential significantly impacts public safety, and quality service delivery is key to creating such communities. To deliver proactive, effective, and efficient emergency and routine services at the hands of a shrinking workforce—while acknowledging the underlying equity implications in a city that is 50% people of color—city officials want to tap into the power of their robust city-owned data (e.g., 311, 911, Real Time Information Center, etc.). 

Analyzing city-owned data and collaborating with various departments will be at the core of this effort to craft innovative, data-driven solutions for improved service delivery. 

The fellow working alongside Hampton officials will help answer these key questions: 

  • What do the available data reveal about patterns, trends, and reoccurring issues? 
  • Which geographic areas of the city produce the most service calls? What is the nature of those calls?
  • Based on reoccurring calls data, which responses have proven effective? Which have not?
  • Based on historical data, what are some early warning indicators that may predict problems?
  • What are the gaps in the data? How might these be addressed?
  • Given the findings, how should the city think about resource allocation?

To address these questions, the fellow will engage with a series of government stakeholders including the City Manager’s office, Police, Public Works, and the Office of Youth and Young Adult Opportunities. Additionally, the fellow will likely engage with a range of external stakeholders, such as the regional health and mental health agency, faith-based organizations, the city school division, the city/county court system, among others. 

What You’ll Do

The fellow will be expected to produce the following: 

A report to provide:

  • An analysis of significant patterns, trends, indicators, and gaps in service delivery
  • Summary findings from stakeholder interviews (primarily with government officials)
  • Research on promising practices and efforts, actions, and initiatives in other cities
  • Data-informed recommendations on adjustments to service delivery (from historical data, analysis of current patterns, and promising practices)

A pilot project designed to improve data-informed decision-making in an area of need indicated by the data analysis. This could, for example, be focused on an indicator or service delivery gap and/or geographic area and encompass:

  • Crafting actionable testing plans for a single service delivery improvement 
  • Developing impact measurements and a measurement framework to clearly define impact

A presentation to the Mayor, City Manager, and City Council.

In addition, the fellow will be expected to engage with and leverage ongoing cross-departmental efforts around reducing community gun violence as part of the Bloomberg Harvard Collaboration Track. 

What You’ll Bring

The fellow will be expected to possess the following skills: 

  • Data analysis 
  • Qualitative interviewing / a sincere curiosity
  • Policy research and analysis 
  • Design thinking, especially iterative design, and a process orientation
  • Communications (written and verbal)
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