Blog Post

Network Analysis with The Counted

For this practicum our class used data to create a network analysis map. We used data from The Counted website and put in an a program called Cytoscape in order to create a network visualization to analyze.


The Counted is a website that keeps track of the number of people killed by police in the United States for the years 2015 and 2016. The purpose of the site is to uncover if certain ethnicities are killed by police more than others. The site documents the race, state, gender, age, classification, and armed status of those who were killed.


We imputed data from The Counted website and put it into Cytoscape in order to create a visual data map. Our map focuses on which law enforcement agency that shot the person, the classification of how the victim was killed (ex. Gunshot, death in custudy) and their race/ ethnicity (ex. White, Black, Native American, Arab America, Hispanic/ Latino). These pieces of data were uploaded into Cytoscape to create an analysis map like the one seen below. At the center of each cluster is a race/ ethnicity and the surrounding circles show the law enforcement agencies that committed the shooting.

When looking at this visual data map, there are more law enforcement agency circles surrounding the white circle than the black and Hispanic/ Latino circles. However, according to The Counted website, it tells us that other ethnicities were shot by police more than white. This format of data analysis does not take into account the proportion of each race that was shot by police. When looking at the total number of people shot by police in 2016, 574 were white, 266 African American, 183 Hispanic/ Latino, 24 Native American. However, if you view the data in people per million, which compares the number of each race killed to the total number of people of each race in America, a different set of data is revealed. In people per million 10.3% are Native American, 6.66% are African American, 3.23% are Hispanic/ Latino, and 2.9% are white. There are more white citizens shot by police in the US than African American citizens; however, there are also more white citizens in America than African American citizens. A greater proportion of the Native American, African American, and Hispanic/ Latino population are targets of police gunshot then the white population. The Cytoscape map does not take into account the amount of people that each race represents in the country to the number of each race shot. Therefore, the data that is found from these maps creates a skewed representation of police caused deaths.


When comparing the data from 2015 and 2016, relatively similar trends were found. There does not appear to be a significant difference in the numbers from each of these years. In order to find out if there were differences, exact numbers would need to be seen. Also, because 2015 and 2016 are consecutive years a great difference in data would not be expected.


In terms of navigating the software on Cytoscape and going through the process of creating these graphs, there were few complications. One problem that I did encounter was the ability to display the race title in the middle of each cluster that could be viewed when the was zoomed out. Every time that I tried to make the category header larger, the program did not comply. In order to show effective images on this post, I put race titles in using text boxes on a word document. 


1 comment

Abby, that's a clever solution to put the target node header is a text box in a Word doc to create the image for this post to make up for that lack of functionality in Cytoscape! Great job -