Step-by-Step Guide

The Minnesota Community Safety Tool is designed to be simple and intuitive for the average user.

1. Search Bar

At the top of each main screen, you will find a search bar:

The Search Bar provides four pull-down menus. These allow you to select:

– The jurisdiction (or county)
– The type of crime
– The victim age range (including all victims)
– The year range

To get the best overall representation of your county, we recommend starting with the default settings: Criminal Sexual Conduct for all years, since this crime encompasses rape and sexual abuse and is the largest category.

Once you have chosen your search terms, the Search Bar will remain the same until you change it, even as you navigate through the website. Please be sure to give the site a chance to refresh when you change your search.

2. Results Bar

Next on the page is the red Results Bar. Results are grouped under the first three icons. When using a mobile device, these icons are at the bottom of the screen, in the blue bar:

To see all of your results, navigate between these first three icons: “Jurisdiction,” “Sentences,” and “Compare.” The page name will appear gold to indicate which page you are on.

The results on each of these three pages will show different pieces of information in response to your search. By navigating back and forth between the icons, you will see additional information in response to your original search.

3. “Showing Information for …”

In the desktop view, you can confirm that you are looking at the right information by checking the “Showing Results for …” just below the red Results Bar on each page. When using a mobile device, watch to ensure the page has refreshed.

This feature confirms the county, crime, victim age range, and time period being displayed on the page below. This will match the search you entered in the Search Bar at the very top.

4. Jurisdiction Page

The Jurisdiction Page displays the following information in response to your search:

– County Name
– Current Elected Prosecutor (County Attorney)
– Previous County Attorneys, by year elected
– Population of the County
– Number of Convictions for the crime, time period, and victim age group you selected

5. Sentences Page

By clicking on the “Sentences Icon,” you can navigate next to a second group of results responding to your original search. (Once again, the “Showing results for …” section will confirm the results you are viewing.)

The Sentencing Page gives you additional information in response to your search. This includes:

– Type of Sentences given for the crime, time period, and victim age group you selected
– Length of Local Jail Time, if the offender received a Stay instead of prison
– The specific type of Probation given, if the offender received a Stay instead of prison

6. Compare Page

If you click on the third icon, you will navigate to another page of results responding to your original search. This page gives you additional information on how your county compares to others in the state. This includes:

– How the county ranked statewide for how often a prison sentence was given
– How seven selected larger counties compared on their rate of convictions, per capita
– A comparison of the county’s sentencing to the state’s sentencing guidelines

7. Navigating Back and Forth

You can navigate back-and-forth from icon to icon to see the three sets of results from your original search.

For example, you might be looking at the “Compare” page and wish to check again what a county’s population is, or how many convictions are in your results. By clicking on the “Jurisdiction” icon, you can return to that information and then come back.

8. New Searches

You can change your search at any time by going back to the Search Bar at the top and using the pull-down menus. This will change the results on all pages (confirm this by looking at the “Showing results for …” section in the desktop view). You can then navigate back and forth between the icons to see the results for your new search.

9. Show Case Data

If you would like to see more detailed information, you can use the “Case Data” feature. This pops-up a new window, showing line-by-line detail on the specific cases found by your current search.

The images below show the “Case Data” button on desktop and mobile views.

The “Case Data” feature allows you to see and sort case-level detail. You can view judges on specific cases. You can also see any stated reasons for departures from sentencing guidelines and plea bargains. For more information on this feature, see the “Interpreting the Case Data” page.

10. Share Page

After you have viewed the information on the three main pages, you can share what you’ve found on social media by clicking on the “Share” icon. Please let your friends, family, and social media contacts know about this website!

11. More Info Page

The “More Info” page provides extensive background information on the website, key findings, additional data, information on where the data comes from, the laws covered by this website, and more.

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