Transparency = Accountability
Baltimore Witness is a website that marries journalism with transparency with data. Our goal is to bring unprecedented transparency to the Baltimore Criminal Justice system. We believe understanding what is happening and what needs to be fixed in the criminal justice system needs a view of the system as an entire whole rather than separate pieces (police, prosecutors, courts). It’s hard to change what you can’t see. We also believe that transparency will bring the kinds of accountability that has been lacking until now.
Baltimore Witness provides transparency of the local system by focusing on homicides and non-fatal shooting cases as they progress through the Baltimore Courts. The site is designed to be of and for the city and its residents. Our problems are home grown and so are their solution. Baltimore Witness will work and support every stakeholder who shares the same goal, the reduction of violent crime in the city.
Trained reporters cover every case, every hearing, every life, every story affected by crime.
Unlike other journalism we will not decide which cases and which lives are worth reporting. We are not driven by the headlines and viewership. Our goal is to be there for every step of every case so that the audience can decide which cases matter to them and what is important to know.
You will also know our opinion on issues. We will report the stories and the data that goes with them. We will leave editorializing to others. Our mandate is to just report the facts.
Power of Data
We start with public information and then verify and enhance it, creating an unprecedented, real-time database to give meaningful reform.
Real change will only come if there is reliable, independent data about what is actually happening. Baltimore Witness will build that database, tracking more than 100 different categories related to every stage of the criminal justice process. We will then publish much of that data on the Baltimore Witness site through our interactive map and data playground. We will also make it available to other stakeholders (researchers, civic groups, government) to provide a basis for building actual evidence-based policies that will bring real change to Baltimore.