Data tracking evictions in Milwaukee

The Track Milwaukee Evictions website has gathered data about local eviction filings, court outcomes, neighborhood risk, and housing code violations. They present the data fields & visualizations to show how the eviction system works locally — and who is most at risk.

Track Milwaukee Evictions is a rich website full of statistics, maps, and data sources to understand how evictions work in the city & who is affected by them. It can be an example for other regions looking to do a data-driven analysis of the justice system & its effects — or to have a proactive, preventative strategy to help those most at risk of evictions.

It has 3 main categories of data & visualizations:

  1. Eviction System statistics, including of how many cases are filed; how many result in judgment; what was happening in those cases; how many judgments turned into writs for law enforcement to use
  2. Maps of Evictions in neighborhoods, to show which local tracts are more likely to face eviction filings & judgments
  3. Housing Code Violations that flag problem with landlords’ upkeep of the home or other violations of the building code.

The site draws from several different data sources:

  • Master Property File of land use & property owners in the region
  • Court records from small claims court & circuit court in the region about filings, representation, outcomes, etc
  • City govt. Code Violations and service requests database

They linked data together using strategies to find which city parcel matched address’ ‘taxkey’. That let them find which court filing was attached to which parcel. The property database then told them more about that parcel — including ownership, size, violations, and other details.

It took work to clean up the court records, separate out address fields, and other misspellings/alternative spellings — and that work led to ability to match among records & learn a lot more about the dynamics of what’s happening with eviction by census parcel tract.

They can also analyze which property owners / landlords are the most frequent filers of eviction, by looking at the ‘lead plaintiff’ in the court records.

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