New Dashboard Provides Public Window into Santa Clara County Death Data

The County of Santa Clara Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office has launched an online dashboard that offers comprehensive case data as well as categorized and geographical breakdowns of all deaths reviewed by the office since 2018.

The state-of-the-art and technologically robust dashboard provides basic demographics – age, race, gender, ZIP code – as well as the cause and manner of death for all cases, with personal identifying information removed.

The dashboard also includes useful tools to assist in data research, covering specific areas such as cause of death, including homicides, suicides, accidents, and drug overdoses. There are analytic sections on deaths due to COVID-19, opioids, motor vehicle accidents, child deaths, deaths among the unhoused, and elderly fall deaths. GIS mapping shows deaths by ZIP code. A “John/Jane Doe” page provides case information and sketches for individuals who remain unidentified so the public can assist in identification.

“These case records and analytics provide a unique lens through which to examine different aspects of deaths in Santa Clara County, whether by cause, in a particular geographical area, or within a certain segment of the community,” said Dr. Michelle Jorden, County of Santa Clara Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner. “In addition to providing the public with nightly updated case information, the analytical tools can help government agencies or nonprofits identify possible trends in target areas for potential intervention opportunities.”

Jorden said she created the dashboard to serve two main purposes: Providing real-time case data to researchers, law enforcement, journalists and the public; and providing immediate public access to maps and data sets that eliminate the wait-time for a California Public Records Act response.

“We are committed to transparency and this dashboard is another venue to continue that commitment,” she said. “Because the cause and manner of death and autopsy reports are public record, it made sense for us to develop a resource for the public to have immediate access to downloadable data specific to their interest.”

The idea for the dashboard surfaced in 2020, during the pandemic and as the office saw increased public interest in case information.  While modeled on dashboards seen in other Medical Examiner-Coroner offices, the County of Santa Clara dashboard was tailored to address needs and case interests specific to the county.

The dashboard, along with user instructions, can be found here.

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