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Applying Data Science to Justice Systems: The North Carolina Statewide Warrant Repository (NCAWARE)

NCJ Number
Travis Taniguchi, Ph.D.; Brian M. A. Aagaard, M.A. ; Peter Baumgartner, M.S.; Amanda Young, M.A.; Michael Wenger
Date Published
October 2019
52 pages

This final draft report presents the findings and methodology of a 3-year project that tested the effectiveness of providing prioritized warrant lists to patrol officers.


The project intended that officers would use this information to improve the identification of people with outstanding warrants in the course of proactive times on routine patrol. The field experiment was conducted in the Greensboro (North Carolina) Police Department (GPD). The project calculated warrant risk profiles from historical offense data provided by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. Predictive models were used to identify personal characteristics associated with offending after a warrant was issued. Predictive features incorporated into the field experiment were misdemeanor charges and convictions, felony charges and convictions, violent charges and convictions, and age. These historical risk factors were used to implement prospective risk assessment for warrants issued during the field experiment. A web-based system was developed to support data entry and dissemination of prioritized warrant information to officers in the field. People with warrants were randomly assigned to treatment or control condition. Under the control condition cases were suppressed from the officer’s view. The process evaluation found that patrol officers and supervisors did not view the warrant service as a priority for their unallocated time. This report identifies significant challenges in improving warrant service. Results suggest that more could be done to integrate disparate data systems and provide officers with a more cohesive view of warrants; however, organizational barriers likely limit the ability to increase warrant service attempts by patrol units. 10 tables and 2 figures