Ask me anything

So I get cold emails probably a few times a month asking random coding questions (which is perfectly fine — main point of this post!). I’ve suggested in the past that folks use a few different online forums, but like many forums I have participated in the past they died out quite quickly (so are not viable alternatives currently).

I think going forward I will mimic what Andrew Gelman does on his blog, just turn my responses into blog posts for everyone (e.g. see this post for an example). I will of course ask people permission before I post, and omit names same as Gelman does.

I have debated over time of doing a Patreon account, but I don’t think that would work very well (imagine I would get 1.2 subscribers for $3 a month!). Ditto for writing books, I debate on doing a Data Science for Crime Analysts in Python or something along those lines, but then I write the outline and think that is too much work to have at best a few hundred people purchase the book in the end. I will do consulting gigs for folks, but the majority of questions people ask do not take long enough to justify running a tab for the work (and I have no desire to rack up charges for grad students asking a few questions).

So feel free to ask me anything.

aggregate retention/churn models in python

Instead of having so much code just randomly floating around in blog posts, I need to start making packages (both in R and python) more often. I took it as a challenge to make a simple python package, here retenmod (pypi, github). I got the idea after answering a question on crossvalidated. (The resources I leveraged the most were these two sites/tutorials, packaging projects and minimal example.)

It is a simple port of the R package foretell that provides several different models to forecast churn based on aggregate survival probabilities. So it only has three functions, and I did not focus too much on extras (like building sphinx docs). Buit it has just the amount of complexity to make a nice intro get my feet wet example.

So you can now download/install the package via pip:

pip install retenmod

And it will automatically install scipy and numpy if you do not have them already installed. For a very simple example, I don’t have retention probabilities for any police department offhand, but this document has estimates for how many staff positions police tend to retain after increases.

Here is a simple example of using the library, in particular the BdW model.

import retenmod
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

large = [100,66,56,52,49,47,44,42]
time = [0,1,2,3,4,5,10,15]

# Only fitting with the first 3 values
train, ext = 4, 15
lrg_bdw = retenmod.bdw(large[0:train],ext - train + 1)

# Showing predicted vs observed
pt = list(range(16))
fig, ax = plt.subplots()
ax.plot(pt[1:], lrg_bdw.proj[1:],label='Predicted', 
        c='k', linewidth=2, zorder=-1)
           edgecolor='k', c='r', s=50, zorder=1)
ax.axvline(train - 0.5, label='Train', color='grey', 
           linestyle='dashed', linewidth=2, zorder=-2)
ax.set_ylabel('% Retaining Position')
ax.legend(facecolor='white', framealpha=1)

So you can see even with only fitting the data to the first three years, years 4 and 5 were forecasted quite well. It underestimates retention further out at 10 and 15 years (the model has a hard time going down very fast from 100 to 66 and then flattening out in a reasonable way). But even so the super far out forecasts are not that crazy given only three data points.

I will have to work on an example later of showing how to translate this to cost-benefit analysis (although would prefer actual retention data from a PD). Essentially you can calculate the benefit of trying to save officers (retain them) vs hiring new officers and training them up based on just aggregate data. If you wanted to do something like estimate if retention is going down due to recent events, I would probably use micro-level data and estimate a survival model directly.

Next up I will try to turn my Exact distribution tests (R Code) for day of week/Benford’s analysis into a simple R package and see if I can get it on Cran. Posting to pypi is quite easy.

Open source code projects in criminology

TLDR; please let me know about open source code related criminology projects.

As part of my work with CrimRxiv, we have started the idea of creating a page to link to various open source criminology focused projects. That is overly broad, but high level here we are thinking for pragmatic resources (e.g. code repositories/packages, open source text books), as opposed to more traditional literature.

As part of our overlay journal we are starting, D1G1TAL & C0MPUTAT10NAL CR1M1N0L0GY, we are trying to get folks to submit open source work for a paper. (As a note, this will not have any charges to publish.) The motivation is two-fold: 1) this gives a venue to get your code peer reviewed (e.g. similar to the Journal of Open Source Software). This is mainly for the writer, to give academic recognition for your open source work. 2) Is for the consumer of the information, it is a nice place to keep up on current developments. If you write an R package to do some cool analysis I want to be aware of it!

For 2, we can accomplish something similar by just linking to current projects. I have started a spreadsheet of links I am collating for now, (in the future will update to this page, you need to be signed into CrimRxiv to see that list). For examples of the work I have collated so far:

Then we have various R packages from folks floating around; Greg Ridgeway, Jerry Ratcliffe, Wouter Steenbeek (as well as the others I mentioned previously you can check out their other projects on Github). Please add in info into the google spreadsheet, comment here, or send me an email if you would like some work you have done (or know others have done) that should be added.

Again I want to know about your work!

KDE plots for predicted probabilities in python

So I have previously written about two plots post binary prediction models – calibration plots and ROC curves. One addition to these I am going to show are kernel density estimate plots, broken down by the observed value vs predicted value. One thing in particular I wanted to make these for is to showcase the distribution of the predicted probabilities themselves, which can be read off of the calibration chart, but is not as easy.

I have written about this some before – transforming KDE estimates from logistic to probability scale in R. I will be showing some of these plots in python using the seaborn library. It will be easier instead of transforming the KDE to use edge weighting statistics to get unbiased estimates near the borders for the way the seaborn library is set up.

To follow along, you can download the data I will be using here. It is the predicted probabilities from the test set in the calibration plot blog post, predicting recidivism using several different models.

First to start, I load my python libraries and set my matplotlib theme (which is also inherited by seaborn charts).

Then I load in my data. To make it easier I am just working with the test set and several predicted probabilities from different models.

import pandas as pd
from scipy.stats import norm
import matplotlib
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import seaborn as sns

# My theme

andy_theme = {'axes.grid': True,
              'grid.linestyle': '--',
              'legend.framealpha': 1,
              'legend.facecolor': 'white',
              'legend.shadow': True,
              'legend.fontsize': 14,
              'legend.title_fontsize': 16,
              'xtick.labelsize': 14,
              'ytick.labelsize': 14,
              'axes.labelsize': 16,
              'axes.titlesize': 20,
              'figure.dpi': 100}


And here I am reading in the data (just have the CSV file in my directory where I started python).

# Reading in the data with predicted probabilites
# Test from

pp_data = pd.read_csv(r'PredProbs_TestCompas.csv',index_col=0)


So you can see this data has the observed outcome Recid30 – recidivism after 30 days (although again this is the test dataset). And then it also has the predicted probability for three different models (XGBoost, RandomForest, and Logit), and then demographic breakdowns for sex and race.

The plot I am interested in seeing is a KDE estimate for the probabilities, broken down by the observed 0/1 for recidivism. Here is the default graph using seaborn:

# Original KDE plot by 0/1
sns.kdeplot(data=pp_data, x="Logit", hue="Recid30", 
            common_norm=False, bw_method=0.15)

One problem you can see with this plot though is that the KDE estimates are smoothed beyond the data. You cannot have a predicted probability below 0 or above 1. Because we are using a gaussian kernel, we can just reweight observations that are close to the edge, and then clip the KDE estimate. So a predicted probability of 0 would get a weight of 1/0.5 – so it gets double the weight. Note to do this correctly, you need to set the bandwidth the same for the seaborn kdeplot as well as the weights calculation – here 0.15.

# Weighting and clipping
# Amount of density below 0 & above 1
below0 = norm.cdf(x=0,loc=pp_data['Logit'],scale=0.15)
above1 = 1- norm.cdf(x=1,loc=pp_data['Logit'],scale=0.15)
pp_data['edgeweight'] = 1/ (1 - below0 - above1)

sns.kdeplot(data=pp_data, x="Logit", hue="Recid30", 
            common_norm=False, bw_method=0.15,
            clip=(0,1), weights='edgeweight')

This results in quite a dramatic difference, showing the model does a bit better than the original graph. The 0’s were well discriminated, so have many very low probabilities that were smoothed outside the legitimate range.

Another cool plot you can do that again shows calibration is to use seaborn’s fill option:

cum_plot = sns.kdeplot(data=pp_data, x="Logit", hue="Recid30", 
                       common_norm=False, bw_method=0.15,
                       clip=(0,1), weights='edgeweight', 
                       multiple="fill", legend=True)
cum_plot.legend_._set_loc(4) #via

As expected this shows an approximate straight line in the graph, e.g. 0.2 on the X axis should be around 0.2 for the orange area in the chart.

Next seaborn has another good function here, violin plots. Unfortunately you cannot pass a weight function here. But another option is to simply resample your data a large number of times, using the weights you provided earlier.

n = 1000000 #larger n will result in more accurate KDE
resamp_pp = pp_data.sample(n=n,replace=True, weights='edgeweight',random_state=10)

viol_sex = sns.violinplot(x="Sex", y="XGB", hue="Recid30",
                          data=resamp_pp, split=True, cut=0, 
                          bw=0.15, inner=None,
                          scale='count', scale_hue=False)
viol_sex.legend_.set_bbox_to_anchor((0.65, 0.95))

So here you can see we have more males in the sample, and they have a larger high risk blob that was correctly identified. Females have a risk profile more spread out, although there is a small clump of basically 0 risk that the model identifies.

You can also generate the graph so the areas for the violin KDE’s are normalized, so in both the original and resampled data we have fewer females, and more black individuals.

# Values for Sex for orig/resampled

# Values for Race orig/resampled

But if we set scale='area' in the chart the violins are the same size:

viol_race = sns.violinplot(x="Race", y="XGB", hue="Recid30",
                           data=resamp_pp, split=True, cut=0, 
                           bw=0.15, inner=None,
                           scale='area', scale_hue=True)
viol_race.legend_.set_bbox_to_anchor((0.81, 0.95))

I will have to see if I can make some time to contribute to seaborn to make it so you can pass in weights to the violinplot function.

Using simulations to show ROI for predictive models in python

Two resources I have been consuming lately I would highly recommend:

Keith’s perspective is nearly a 100% match to my experiences, e.g. should aim for projects that have around $1 million in expected revenue to justify a data science person/team, up front estimates should be on the low end, the easiest projects you can formulate as micro-decisions and you use a model to improve those binary decisions, etc. How to measure anything fits right into this as well, where Hubbard basically says get a prior distribution on expected outcomes, and then do simulations to see possible outcomes.

Here I am going to show an example that is very close to several of the projects I have done to show the potential increase in revenue from taking a model based approach using simulations in python.


So the point in the data science project I am going to be illustrating is you have already decided to do an initial pilot model, and you have historical cases and then predicted probabilities from your model. Here I am thinking of the case of auditing some type transaction (it can be whatever you want, tax-returns, bank transactions, insurance claims, etc.). Here I am going to simulate some fake data to illustrate the later ROI estimates, but in real life you would use your own data for the business.

Here the variables I simulate are:

  • 5000 transactions, total_cases
  • a model based predicted probability, prob
  • a dollar value for the transaction, dollar
  • a historical marker whether a transaction was audited, audit
  • a historical marker whether the transaction was bad, hit

To be clear, this would be data you would normally already have for your business use case (e.g. historical transactions). To just illustrate my point I am making 100% fake data for everyone to follow along.

# Simulating data, probabilities
# and money values

from scipy.stats import norm
from scipy.stats import binom
from scipy.stats import beta
import numpy as np
import pandas as pd
from matplotlib import pyplot as plt

total_cases = 5000

# Beta(1,5), to generate the probs
prob = beta.rvs(1, 5, size=total_cases)

# Lognormal for the dollar values, clipped
dollar = np.exp(norm.rvs(7,2,size=total_cases)).clip(500,25000)

# Historical auditing process, all cases over 15000
audit = (dollar > 15000)*1

# Out of these, random 10% are hits
hit = binom.rvs(1, 0.10, size=total_cases)

# Putting into a dataframe
cases = pd.concat([pd.Series(dollar),pd.Series(audit),
                   pd.Series(prob), pd.Series(hit)], 
cases.columns = ['value','audit','prob', 'hit']
cases['revenue'] = cases['hit']*cases['value']*cases['audit']

cases['revenue'].sum() # about 1.1 million


These are all simulated from various probability distributions to look somewhat like real data. Probabilities and dollar values are right skewed. They are independent here, but it is ok if in your real data they are not.

Here I pretend the historical audit selection process is they automatically audit all large transactions, over $15k. And these historical audits have a 10% probability of finding a hit (think of it as fraud if you want). So the context is given our model estimates prob, how much more money do we think we can make if you use these model based decision as opposed to our simple threshold that is the current process?

Revenue Simulations

So here for my revenue simulations, what I am going to do is pretend I can audit the same number of cases (471), based on my model estimates, audit_total.

audit_total = audit.sum() #pretend we get to model the same
                          #number of cases
cases['model_expected'] = cases['prob']*cases['value']
cases['model_rank'] = cases['model_expected'].rank(method='first', ascending=False)
cases['model_audit'] = 1*(cases['model_rank'] >= audit_total)

# Expected revenue from our model based approach
# About 1.3 million

So if our model is well calibrated, we can take those predicted probabilities and estimate what we think should happen if we used our model to audit 471 cases. Here we think we would make around 1.3 million, so about a lift of over $200k.

But, these models are probabilistic estimates. So I like to use simulations to hedge a bit when I am presenting to the business. Here I do 5000 simulations where I select my 471 cases, use a binomial random number generator to flip the coin whether the case results in a hit or not, and then calculate the total revenue.

# Simulating binomial process, seeing what the revenue is
cases_audit = cases[cases['model_audit'] == 1].copy()
rev_sim = [] #doing 5000 simulations
for i in range(5000):
    hit_sim = binom.rvs(1, cases_audit['prob'])
    sim_outs = hit_sim * cases_audit['value']
    rev_sim.append( (sim_outs.sum(), hit_sim.mean()) )

rev_sim = pd.DataFrame(rev_sim, columns=['RevSim','HitRateSim'])

We can then turn this into a nice graph of simulated potential outcomes. In our model approach, on average we would expect to make $1.3 million (versus the actual revenue of $1.1 million), but we have variance around that estimate:

# making a nice graph
actual_rev = cases['revenue'].sum()/1000000
ax = (rev_sim['RevSim']/1000000).hist(bins=100, alpha=0.8, color='grey')
ax.axvline(actual_rev, color='r', linewidth=3)
ax.set_xlabel('Audit Revenue in $1,000,000')
plt.text(actual_rev + 0.008, 150, 'Actual Revenue', color='r')
plt.title('Simulated Revenue when using Model')

So you can see on a very few occasions we make less than the revenue under the current strategy of audit all large cases. But in just as many circumstances we are making over $400k in additional profit.

You may ask why 5000 simulations instead of more or less? Well these are small enough I can easily do them quickly, so I could up the simulations to a higher value if I wanted. Long story short, if you look at the histogram of outcomes and it is still quite bumpy, you should probably do more simulations. Here 5000 is plenty, although 1000 was clearly more bumpy.

If you don’t want to present the histogram, or have more complicated scenarios and prefer a table laying those scenarios out, you can pull out simulated confidence intervals of the additional revenue outcomes:

# If you want to put a confidence interval on it
# Per 1000 dollars
diff = (rev_sim['RevSim'] - cases['revenue'].sum())/1000

# 95% confidence interval

One of the benefits of having a model, even if the revenue is not increased, is that you can generate estimates for other types of interventions. In the auditing case, you can potentially justify more auditors (e.g. we can hire more people to investigate 400 more cases and still expect to make a profit). (Here I have a related criminal justice example for bail decisions.) Or you can apply the models as a potential sales pitch to a new client. E.g. if you hire us to do these audits, given your data and our model, we think we can make the $X dollars.

Model based approaches also allow you to meet more constraints, such as increasing the hit rate, or meeting fairness constraints. Here in this simulation if we use a model based approach, the hit rate goes up to around 15% as opposed to 10%. Which may be worth it for your investigators or clients depending on the situation.

Fitting a pytorch model

Out of the box when fitting pytorch models we typically run through a manual loop. So typically something like this:

# Example fitting a pytorch model
# mod is the pytorch model object
opt = torch.optim.Adam(mod.parameters(), lr=1e-4)
crit = torch.nn.MSELoss(reduction='mean')
for t in range(20000):
    y_pred = mod(x)   #x is tensor of independent vars
    loss = crit(y_pred,y) #y is tensor of outcomes

And this would use backpropogation to adjust our model parameters to minimize the loss function, here just the mean square error, over 20,000 iterations. Best practices are to both evaluate the loss in-sample and wait for it to flatten out, as well as evaluate out of sample.

I recently wrote some example code to make this process somewhat more like the sklearn approach, where you instantiate an initial model object, and then use a, y) function call to fit the pytorch model. For an example use case I will just use a prior Compas recidivism data I have used for past examples on the blog (see ROC/Calibration plots, and Balancing False Positives). Here is the prepped CSV file to download to follow along.

So first, I load the libraries and then prep the recidivism data before I fit my predictive models.

# Front end libraries/data prep

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import torch

# Setting seeds

# Prepping the Compas data and making train/test
recid = pd.read_csv('PreppedCompas.csv')

#Preparing the variables I want
recid_prep = recid[['Recid30','CompScore.1','CompScore.2','CompScore.3',
recid_prep['Male'] = 1*(recid['sex'] == "Male")
recid_prep['Fel'] = 1*(recid['c_charge_degree'] == "F")
recid_prep['Mis'] = 1*(recid['c_charge_degree'] == "M")
dum_race = pd.get_dummies(recid['race'])

# White for reference category
for d in list(dum_race):
    if d != 'Caucasion':
        recid_prep[d] = dum_race[d]

# reference category is separated/unknown/widowed
dum_mar = pd.get_dummies(recid['marital_status'])
recid_prep['Single'] = dum_mar['Single']
recid_prep['Married'] = dum_mar['Married'] + dum_mar['Significant Other']

#Now generating train and test set
recid_prep['Train'] = np.random.binomial(1,0.75,len(recid_prep))
recid_train = recid_prep[recid_prep['Train'] == 1].copy()
recid_test = recid_prep[recid_prep['Train'] == 0].copy()

#Independant variables
ind_vars = ['CompScore.1','CompScore.2','CompScore.3',
            'African-American','Asian','Hispanic','Native American','Other',

# Dependent variable
y_var = 'Recid30'

Now next part is more detailed, but it is the main point of the post. Typically we will make a pytorch model object something like this. Here I have various switches, such as the activation function (tanh or relu or pass in your own function), or the final function to limit predictions to 0/1 (either sigmoid or clamp or again pass in your own function).

# Initial pytorch model class
class logit_pytorch(torch.nn.Module):
    def __init__(self, nvars, device, activate='relu', bias=True,
        Construct parameters for the coefficients 
        activate - either string ('relu' or 'tanh', 
                   or pass in your own torch function
        bias - whether to include bias (intercept) in model
        final - use either 'sigmoid' to squash to probs, or 'clamp'
                or pass in your own torch function
        device - torch device to construct the tensors
                 default cuda:0 if available
        super(logit_pytorch, self).__init__()
        # Creating the coefficient parameters
        self.coef = torch.nn.Parameter(torch.rand((nvars,1),
        # If no bias it is 0
        if bias:
            self.bias = torch.nn.Parameter(torch.zeros(1,
            self.bias = torch.zeros(1, device=device)
        # Various activation functions
        if activate == 'relu':
            self.trans = torch.nn.ReLU()
        elif activate == 'tanh':
            self.trans = torch.nn.Tanh()
            self.trans = activate
        if final == 'sigmoid':
   = torch.nn.Sigmoid()
        elif final == 'clamp':
            # Defining my own clamp function
            def tclamp(input):
                return torch.clamp(input,min=0,max=1)
   = tclamp
            # Can pass in your own function
   = final
    def forward(self, x):
        predicted probability
        output = self.bias +, self.trans(self.coef))

To use this though again we need to specify the number of coefficients to create, and then do a bunch of extras like the optimizer, and stepping through the function (like described at the beginning of the post). So here I have created a second class that behaves more like sklearn objects. I create the empty object, and only when I pass in data to the .fit() method it spins up the actual pytorch model with all its tensors of the correct dimensions.

# Creating a class to instantiate model to data and then fit
class pytorchLogit():
    def __init__(self, loss='logit', iters=25001, 
                 activate='relu', bias=True, 
                 final='sigmoid', device='gpu',
        loss - either string 'logit' or 'brier' or own pytorch function
        iters - number of iterations to fit (default 25000)
        activate - either string ('relu' or 'tanh', 
                   or pass in your own torch function
        bias - whether to include bias (intercept) in model
        final - use either 'sigmoid' to squash to probs, or 'clamp'
                or pass in your own torch function. Should not use clamp
                with default logit loss
        opt - ?optimizer? should add an option for this
        device - torch device to construct the tensors
                 default cuda:0 if available
        printn - how often to check the fit (default 1000 iters)
        super(pytorchLogit, self).__init__()
        if loss == 'logit':
            self.loss = torch.nn.BCELoss()
            self.loss_name = 'logit'
        elif loss == 'brier':
            self.loss = torch.nn.MSELoss(reduction='mean')
            self.loss_name = 'brier'
            self.loss = loss
            self.loss_name = 'user defined function'
        # Setting the torch device
        if device == 'gpu':
                self.device = torch.device("cuda:0")
                print(f'Torch device GPU defaults to cuda:0')
                print('Unsuccessful setting to GPU, defaulting to CPU')
                self.device = torch.device("cpu")
        elif device == 'cpu':
            self.device = torch.device("cpu")
            self.device = device #can pass in whatever
        self.iters = iters
        self.mod = None
        self.activate = activate
        self.bias = bias = final
        self.printn = printn
        # Other stats to carry forward
        self.loss_metrics = []
        self.epoch = 0
    def fit(self, X, y, outX=None, outY=None):
        x_ten = torch.tensor(X.to_numpy(), dtype=torch.float,
        y_ten = torch.tensor(pd.DataFrame(y).to_numpy(), dtype=torch.float,
        # Only needed if you pass in an out of sample to check as well
        if outX is not None:
            x_out_ten = torch.tensor(outX.to_numpy(), dtype=torch.float,
            y_out_ten = torch.tensor(pd.DataFrame(outY).to_numpy(), dtype=torch.float,
        self.epoch += 1
        # If mod is not already created, create a new one, else update prior
        if self.mod is None:
            loc_mod = logit_pytorch(nvars=X.shape[1], activate=self.activate, 
            self.mod = loc_mod
            loc_mod = self.mod
        opt = torch.optim.Adam(loc_mod.parameters(), lr=1e-4)
        crit = self.loss
        for t in range(self.iters):
            y_pred = loc_mod(x_ten)
            loss = crit(y_pred,y_ten)
            if t % self.printn == 0:
                if outX is not None:
                    pred_os = loc_mod(x_out_ten)
                    loss_os = crit(pred_os,y_out_ten)
                    res_tup = (self.epoch, t, loss.item(), loss_os.item())
                    print(f'{t}: insample {res_tup[2]:.4f}, outsample {res_tup[3]:.4f}')
                    res_tup = (self.epoch, t, loss.item(), None)
                    print(f'{t}: insample {res_tup[2]:.5f}')
    def predict_proba(self, X):
        x_ten = torch.tensor(X.to_numpy(), dtype=torch.float,
        res = self.mod(x_ten)
        pp = res.cpu().detach().numpy()
        return np.concatenate((1-pp,pp), axis=1)
    def loss_stats(self, plot=True, select=0):
        pd_stats = pd.DataFrame(self.loss_metrics, columns=['epoch','iteration',
        if plot:
            pd_stats2 = pd_stats.rename(columns={'insamploss':'In Sample Loss', 'outsamploss':'Out of Sample Loss'})
            pd_stats2 = pd_stats2[pd_stats2['iteration'] > select].copy()
            ax = pd_stats2[['iteration','In Sample Loss','Out of Sample Loss']].plot.line(x='iteration', 
                            ylabel=f'{self.loss_name} loss')
        return pd_stats

Again it allows you to pass in various extras, which here are just illustrations for binary predictions (like the loss function as the Brier score or the more typical log-loss). It also allows you to evaluate the fit for just in-sample, or for out of sample data as well. It also allows you to specify the number of iterations to fit.

So now that we have all that work done, here as some simple examples of its use.

# Creating a model and fitting
mod = pytorchLogit()[ind_vars], recid_train[y_var])

So you can see that this is very similar now to sklearn functions. It will print at the console fit statistics over the iterations:

So it defaults to 25k iterations, and you can see that it settles down much before that. I created a predict_proba function, same as most sklearn model objects for binary predictions:

# Predictions out of sample
predprobs = mod.predict_proba(recid_test[ind_vars])
predprobs # 1st column is probability 0, 2nd prob 1

And this returns a numpy array (not a pytorch tensor). Although you could modify to return a pytorch tensor if you wanted it to (or give an option to specify which).

Here is an example of evaluating out of sample fit as well, in addition to specifying a few more of the options.

# Evaluating predictions out of sample, more iterations
mod2 = pytorchLogit(activate='tanh', iters=40001, printn=100)[ind_vars], recid_train[y_var], recid_test[ind_vars], recid_test[y_var])

I also have an object function, .loss_stats(), which gives a nice graph of in-sample vs out-of-sample loss metrics.

# Making a nice graph
dp = mod2.loss_stats()

We can also select the loss function to only show later iterations, so it is easier to zoom into the behavior.

# Checking out further along

And finally like I said you could modify some of your own functions here. So instead of any activation function I pass in the identity function – so this turns the model into something very similar to a vanilla logistic regression.

# Inserting in your own activation (here identity function)
def ident(input):
    return input

mod3 = pytorchLogit(activate=ident, iters=40001, printn=2000)[ind_vars], recid_train[y_var], recid_test[ind_vars], recid_test[y_var])

And then if you want to access the coefficients weights, it is just going down the rabbit hole to the pytorch object:

# Can get the coefficients/intercept
print( mod3.mod.coef )
print( mod3.mod.bias )

This type of model can of course be extended however you want, but modifying the pytorchLogit() and logit_pytorch class objects to specify however detailed switches you want. E.g. you could specify adding in hidden layers.

One thing I am not 100% sure the best way to accomplish is loss functions that take more parameters, as well as the best way to set up the optimizer. Maybe use *kwargs for the loss function. So for my use cases I have stuffed extra objects into the initial class, so they are there later if I need them.

Also here I would need to think more about how to save the model to disk. The model is simple enough I could dump the tensors to numpy, and on loading re-do them as pytorch tensors.

Academia and the culture of critiquing

Being out of academia for a bit now gives me some perspective on common behaviors I now know are not normal for other workplaces. Andrew Gelman and Jessica Hullman’s posts are what recently brought this topic to mind. Both what Jessica (and other behavior Andrew Gelman points out commonly on his blog) are near synonymous with my personal experience at multiple institutions. So even though we all span different areas in science it appears academic culture is quite similar across places and topical areas.

One in academia is senior academics shirking responsibility – deadwoods. This behavior I can readily attribute to rational behavior, so although I found it infuriating it was easily explainable. Hey, if you let me collect a paycheck into my 90’s I would likely be a deadwood at that point too! (Check out this Richard Larson post on why universities should encourage more professors to be semi-retired.)

Another behavior I had a harder time wrapping my head around was what I will refer to as the culture of critique. To the extent that we have a scientific method, a central component of that is to be critical of scientific results. If I read a news article that says X made crime go up/down, my immediate thought is ‘there needs to be more evidence to support that assertion’.

That level of skepticism is a necessary component of being an academic. We apply this skepticism not only to newspaper articles, but to each other as well. University professors don’t really have a supervisor like normal jobs, we each evaluate our peers research through various mechanisms (peer review journal articles, tenure review, reviewing grant proposals, critique public presentations, etc.).

This again is necessary for scientific advancement. We all make mistakes, and others should be able to rightly go and point out my mistakes and improve upon my work.

This bleeds out though in several ways that negatively impact academics ability to interact with one another. I don’t really have a well scoped out outline of these behaviors, but here are several examples I’ve noticed over time (in no particular order):

1) The person receiving critiques cannot distinguish between personal attacks and legitimate scientific ones. This has two parts, one is that even if you can distinguish between the two in your mind, they make you feel like shit either way. So it doesn’t really matter if someone gives a legitimate critique or someone makes ad hominem attacks – they each are draining on your self-esteem the same way.

The second part is people actually cannot tell the difference in some circumstances. In replication work on fish behavior pointing out potential data fabrication, some scientists response is that it is intentionally cruel to critique prior work. Original researchers often call people who do replications data thugs or shameless bullies, impugning the motives of those who do the critiques. For a criminology example check out Justin Pickett’s saga trying to get his own paper retracted.

To be fair to the receiver of critiques, in critiques it is not uncommon to have a mixture of legitimate and personal attacks, so it is reasonable to not know the difference sometimes. I detail on this blog on a series of back and forth on officer involved shooting research how several individuals from both sides again have their motivations impugned based on their research findings. So 2) the person sending critiques cannot distinguish between legitimate scientific critique and unsubstantiated personal attacks.

One of the things that is pretty clear to me – we can pretty much never have solid proof into the motives or minds of people. We can only point out either logical flaws in work, or in the more severe case of forensic numerical work can point out inconsistencies that are at best gross negligence (and at worse intentional malfeasance). It is also OK to point out potential conflicts of interest of course, but relying on that as a major point of scientific critique is often pretty weak sauce. So while I cannot define a bright line between legitimate and illegitimate critique, I don’t think in practice the line is all that fuzzy.

But because critiquing is a major component of many things we do, we have 3) piling on every little critique we can think of. I’ve written about how many reviewers have excessive complaints about minutia in peer reviews, in particular people commonly critique clearly arbitrary aspects of writing style. I think this is partly a function of even if people really don’t have substantive things to say, they go down the daisy chain and create critiques out of something. Nothing is perfect, so everything can be critiqued in some way, but clearly what citations you included are rarely a fundamental aspect of your work. But that part of your work is often the major component of how you are evaluated, at least in terms of peer reviewed journal articles.

This I will admit is a harder problem though – personal vs legitimate critiques I don’t think is that hard to tell the difference – but what counts as a deal breaker vs acceptable problem with some work is a harder distinction to make. This results in someone being able to always justify rejecting some work on some grounds, because we do not have clear criteria for what is ‘good enough’ to publish, ‘justified enough’ to get a grant, ‘excellent enough’ to get an award, etc.

4) The scarlet mark. Academics have a difficult time separating out critiques on one piece of research vs a persons work as a whole. This admittedly I have the weakest evidence of widespread examples across fields (only personal anecdotes really, the original Gelman/Hullman posts point out some similar churlish behavior though, such as asking others to disassociate themselves), but it was common in my circle of senior policing scholars to critique other younger policing scholars out of hand. It happened to me as well, senior academics saying directly to me based on the work I do I shouldn’t count as a policing scholar.

Another common example I came across was opinions of the Piquero’s and their work. It would be one thing to critique individual papers, often times people dismissed their work offhand because they are prolific publishers.

This is likely also related to network effects. If you are in the right network, individuals will support you and defend your work (perhaps without regards to the content). Whereas if you are in an outside network folks will critique you. Because it is fair game to critique everything, and there are regular norms in peer review to critique things that are utterly arbitrary, you can sink a paper for what appears to be objective reasons but is really you just piling on superficial critiques. So of course if you have already decided you do not like someone’s work, you can pile on whatever critiques you want with impunity.

The final behavior I will point out, 5) never back down or admit faults. For a criminal justice example, I will point out an original article in JQC and critique in JQC about interaction effects. So the critique by Alex Reinhart was utterly banal, it was that if you estimate a regression model:

y = B1*[ log(x1*x2*x3) ]

This does not test an interaction effect, quite the opposite, it forces the effects to be equal across the three variables:

y = B1*log(x1) + B1*log(x2) + B1*log(x3)

Considering a major hypothesis for the paper was testing interaction effects, it was kind of a big deal for interpretations in the paper. So the response by the original authors should have been ‘Thank you Alex for pointing out our error, here are the models when correcting for this mistake’, but instead we get several pages of of non sequiturs that attempt to justify the original approach (the authors confuse formative and reflective measurement models, and the distribution of your independent variables doesn’t matter in regression).

To be fair this never admit you are wrong behavior appears to be for everyone, not just academics. Andrew Gelman on his blog often points to journalists refusing to correct mistakes as well.

The irony of never back down is that since critique is a central part of academia, you would think it would also be normative to say ‘ok I made a mistake’ and/or ‘OK I will fix my mistake you pointed out’. Self correcting is surely a major goal of critiques and I mean we all make mistakes. But for some reason admitting fault is not normative. Maybe because we are so used to defending our work through a bunch of nonsense (#2) we also defend it even when it is not defensible. Or maybe because we evaluate people as a whole and not individual pieces of work (#4) we need to never back down, because you will carry around a scarlet mark of one bad piece forever. Or because we ourselves cannot distinguish between legitimate/illegitimate (#1), people never back down. I don’t know.

So I am sure a sociologist who does this sort of analysis for a living could make sense of why these behaviors exist than me. I am simply pointing out regular, repeated interactions I had that make life in academia very mentally difficult.

But again I think these are maybe intrinsic to the idea that skepticism and critiquing are central to academia itself. So I don’t really have any good thoughts on how to change these manifest negative behaviors.

ROC and calibration plots for binary predictions in python

When doing binary prediction models, there are really two plots I want to see. One is the ROC curve (and associated area under the curve stat), and the other is a calibration plot. I have written a few helper functions to make these plots for multiple models and multiple subgroups, so figured I would share, binary plots python code. To illustrate their use, I will use the same Compas recidivism data I have used in the past, (CSV file here). So once you have downloaded those two files you can follow along with my subsequent code.

Front Prep

First, I have downloaded the file and the PreppedCompas.csv file to a particular folder on my machine, D:\Dropbox\Dropbox\Documents\BLOG\binary_plots. To import these functions, I append that path using sys, and change the working directory using os. The other packages are what I will be using the fit the models.

# Front end prep

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
from xgboost import XGBClassifier
from sklearn.ensemble import RandomForestClassifier
from sklearn.linear_model import LogisticRegression

import os
import sys

my_dir = r'D:\Dropbox\Dropbox\Documents\BLOG\binary_plots'

# Can append to path
import binary_plots

np.random.seed(10) #setting the seed for the random
# split for train/test

Next up I prepare the data, this is just boring stuff turning categorical variables into various dummies and making a train/test split for the data (which can be done in a variety of ways).

# Prepping Compas Data

#For notes on data source, check out 
recid = pd.read_csv('PreppedCompas.csv')

#Preparing the variables I want
recid_prep = recid[['Recid30','CompScore.1','CompScore.2','CompScore.3',
recid_prep['Male'] = 1*(recid['sex'] == "Male")
recid_prep['Fel'] = 1*(recid['c_charge_degree'] == "F")
recid_prep['Mis'] = 1*(recid['c_charge_degree'] == "M")

print( recid['race'].value_counts() )
dum_race = pd.get_dummies(recid['race'])
# White for reference category
for d in list(dum_race):
    if d != 'Caucasion':
        recid_prep[d] = dum_race[d]

print( recid['marital_status'].value_counts() )
dum_mar = pd.get_dummies(recid['marital_status'])
recid_prep['Single'] = dum_mar['Single']
recid_prep['Married'] = dum_mar['Married'] + dum_mar['Significant Other']
# reference category is separated/unknown/widowed

#Now generating train and test set
recid_prep['Train'] = np.random.binomial(1,0.75,len(recid_prep))
recid_train = recid_prep[recid_prep['Train'] == 1].copy()
recid_test = recid_prep[recid_prep['Train'] == 0].copy()

#Independant variables
ind_vars = ['CompScore.1','CompScore.2','CompScore.3',
            'African-American','Asian','Hispanic','Native American','Other',

# Dependent variable
y_var = 'Recid30'

Next, the sklearn library makes it quite easy to fit a set of multiple models. Most of the time I start with XGBoost, random forests, and a normal logistic model with no coefficient penalty. I just stuff the base model object in a dictionary, pipe in the same training data, and fit the models. Then I can add in the predicted probabilities from each model into the test dataset. (These plots I show you should only show on the test dataset, of course the data will be calibrated on the training dataset.)

# Training three different models, Logit,
# Random Forest, and XGBoost

final_models = {}
final_models['XGB'] = XGBClassifier(n_estimators=100, max_depth=5)
final_models['RF'] = RandomForestClassifier(n_estimators=1000, max_depth=10, min_samples_split=50)
final_models['Logit'] = LogisticRegression(penalty='none', solver='newton-cg')

# Iterating over each model and fitting on train
for nm, mod in final_models.items():[ind_vars], recid_train[y_var])

# Adding predicted probabilities back into test dataset
for nm, mod in final_models.items():
    # Predicted probs out of sample
    recid_test[nm] =  mod.predict_proba(recid_test[ind_vars])[:,1]

This is fairly tiny data, so I don’t need to worry about how long this takes or run out of memory. I’d note you can do the same model, but different hyperparameters in this approach. Such as tinkering with the depth for tree based models is one I by default limit quite a bit.

AUC Plots

First, my goto metric to see the utility of a particular binary prediction model is the AUC stat. This has one interpretation in terms of the concordance stat, an AUC of 0.7 means if you randomly picked a 0 case and a 1 case, the 1 case would have a higher value 70% of the time. So AUC is all about how well your prediction discriminates between the two classes.

So with my binary_plots function, you can generate an ROC curve for the test data for a single column of predictions as so:

# A single column
binary_plots.auc_plot(recid_test, y_var, ['Logit'], save_plot='AUC1.png')

As I have generated predictions for multiple models, I have also generated a similar graph, but stuff the AUC stats in the matplotlib legend:

# Multiple columns to show different models
pred_prob_cols = list(final_models.keys()) #variable names
binary_plots.auc_plot(recid_test, y_var, pred_prob_cols, save_plot='AUC2.png')

It is also the case you want to do these plots for different subgroups of data. In recidivism research, we are often interested in sex and racial breakdowns. Here is the Logit model AUC broken down by Males (1) and Females (0).

# By subgroups in the data
binary_plots.auc_plot_long(recid_test, y_var, 'Logit', group='Male', save_plot='AUC3.png')

So this pulls the labels from the data, but you can pass in strings to get nicer labels. And finally, I show how to put both of these together, both by models and by subgroups in the data. Subgroups are different panels, and you can pass in a fontsize moniker to make the legends smaller for each subplot, and a size for each subplot (they are squares).

# Lets make nicer variable names for Male/Females and Racial Groups
recid_test['Sex'] = recid_test['Male'].replace({0: 'Female', 1:'Male'})
recid_test['Race'] = recid[recid_prep['Train'] == 0]['race']
recid_test['Race'] = recid_test['Race'].replace({'Hispanic': 'Other', 'Asian':'Other', 'Native American':'Other', 'African-American':'Black', 'Caucasian':'White'})

# Now can do AUC plot by gender and model type
binary_plots.auc_plot_wide_group(recid_test, y_var, pred_prob_cols, 'Sex', size=4, leg_size='x-small', save_plot='AUC4.png')

The plots have a wrap function (default wrap at 3 columns), so you can plot as many subgroups as you want. Here is an example combing the sex and race categories:

One limitation to note in these plots, ROC plots are normalized in a way that the thresholds for each subgroup may not be at the same area of the plot (e.g. a FPR of 0.1 for one subgroup implies a predicted probability of 30%, whereas for another subgroup it implies a predicted probability of 40%).

ROC/AUC is definitely not a perfect stat, most of the time we are only interested in the far left hand side of the ROC curve (how well we can identify high risk cases without a ton of false positives). That is why I think drawing the curves are important – one model may have a higher AUC, but it is in an area of the curve not relevant for how you will use the predictions in practice. (For tree based models with limited depth and limited variables, it can produce flat areas in the ROC curve for example.)

But I find the ROC curve/AUC metric the most useful default for both absolute comparisons (how well is this model doing overall), as well as relative model comparisons (is Model A better than Model B).

Most models I work with I can get an AUC of 0.7 without much work, and once I get an AUC of 0.9 I am in the clearly diminishing returns category to tinkering with my model (this is true for both criminology related models I work with, as well as healthcare related models in my new job).

This is of course data dependent, and even an AUC of 0.9 is not necessarily good enough to use in practice (you need to do a cost-benefit type analysis given how you will use the predictions to figure that out).

Calibration Charts

For those with a stat background, these calibration charts I show are a graphical equivalent of the Hosmer-Lemeshow test. I don’t bother conducting the Chi-square test, but visually I find them informative to not only see if an individual model is calibrated, but also to see the range of the predictions (my experience XGBoost will be more aggressive in the range of predicted probabilities, but is not always well calibrated).

So we have the same three types of set ups as with the ROC plots, a single predicted model:

# For single model
binary_plots.cal_data('XGB', y_var, recid_test, bins=60, plot=True, save_plot='Cal1.png')

For multiple models, I always do these on separate subplots, they would be too busy to superimpose. And because it is a single legend, I just build the data and use seaborn to do a nice small multiple. (All of these functions return the dataframe I use to build the final plot in long format.) The original plot was slightly noisy with 60 bins, so I reduce it to 30 bins here, but it is still slightly noisy (but each model is pretty well calibrated). XGBoost has a wider range of probabilities, random forests lowest bin is around 0.1 and max is below 0.8. Logit has lower probabilities but none above 0.8.

# For multiple models
binary_plots.cal_data_wide(pred_prob_cols, y_var, recid_test, bins=30, plot=True, save_plot='Cal2.png')

For a single model, but by subgroups in the data. The smaller other race group is more noisy, but again each model appears to be approximately calibrated.

# For subgroups and one model
binary_plots.cal_data_group('XGB', y_var, 'Race', recid_test, bins=20, plot=True, save_plot='Cal3.png')

And a combo of subgroup data and multiple models. Again the smaller subgroup Females appear more noisy, but all three models appear to be doing OK in this quick example.

# For subgroups and multiple models
binary_plots.cal_data_wide_group(pred_prob_cols, y_var, 'Sex', recid_test, bins=20, plot=True, save_plot='Cal4.png')

Sometimes people don’t bin the data (Peter Austin likes to do a smoothed plot), but I find the binned data easier to follow and identify deviations above/below predicted probabilities. In real life you often have some fallout/dropoff if there is feedback between the model and how other people respond to the model (e.g. the observed is always 5% below the predicted).

Python f string number formatting and SPSS break long labels

Another quick blog post, as moving is not 100% crazy all the time now, but I need a vacation after all that work. So two things in this blog post: formatting numeric f strings in python, and breaking long labels in SPSS meta-data.

Python f-string numeric formatting

This is super simple, but I can never remember it (so making a quick blog post for my own reference). As of python 3.6, you can use f-strings to do simple text substitution. So if you do:

x = 2/3
sub_str = f'This proportion is {x}'

Then we will get printed out This proportion is 0.6666666666666666. So packing global items inside of {} expands within the f string. While for more serious string subsitution (like creating parameterized SQL queries), I like to use string templates, these f-strings are very nice to print short messages to the console or make annotations in graphs.

Part of this note is that I never remember how to format these strings. If you are working with integers it is not a big deal, but as you can see above I often do not want to print out all those decimals inside my particular message. A simple way to format the strings are:

f'This proportion is {x:.2f}'

And this prints out to two decimal places 'This proportion is 0.67'. If you have very big numbers (say revenue), you can do something like:

f'This value is ${x*10000:,.0f}'

Which prints out 'This value is $6,667' (so you can modify objects in place, to say change a proportion to a percentage).

Note also to folks that you can have multi-line f-strings by using triple quotes, e.g.:

f'''This is a super
long f-string for {x:.2f}
on multiple lines!'''

But one annoying this is that you need to keep the whitespace correct inside of functions even inside the triple string. So those are cases I like using string templates. But another option is to break up the string and use line breaks via \n.

long_str = (f'This is line 1\n'
            f'Proportion is {x:.1f}\n'
            f'This is line 3')

Which prints out:

This is line 1
Proportion is 0.7
This is line 3

You could do the line breaks however, either at the beginning of each line or at the end of each line.

SPSS break long labels

This was in reference to a project where I was working with survey data, and for various graphs I needed to break up long labels. So here is an example to illustrate the problem.

* Creating simple data to illustrate.
1 1
2 2
3 3
4 4
  1 'This is a reallllllllly long label'
  2 'short label'
  3 'Super long unnecessary label that is long'
  4 'Again another long label what is up with this'
  X 'Short variable label'
  Y 'This is also a super long variable label that is excessive!'

  SOURCE: s=userSource(id("g"))
  DATA: X=col(source(s), name("X"), unit.category())
  DATA: Y=col(source(s), name("Y"))
  COORD: rect(dim(1,2), transpose())
  GUIDE: axis(dim(1))
  GUIDE: axis(dim(2), label("Value"))
  SCALE: linear(dim(2), include(0))
  ELEMENT: interval(position(X*Y))

So you can see, SPSS shrinks the data to accommodate the long labels. (I don’t know how to control the behavior in the graph or the chart template itself, so not sure why only this gets wrapped for the first label.) So we can use the \n line break trick again in SPSS to get these to split where we prefer. Here are some python functions to do the splitting (which I am sure can be improved upon), as well as to apply the splits to the current SPSS dataset. You can decide the split where you want the line to be broken, and so if a word goes above that split level it wraps to the next line.

* Now some python to wrap long labels.
import spss, spssaux

# Splits a long string with line breaks
def long_str(x,split):
    split_str = x.split(" ")
    cum = len(split_str[0])
    cum_str = split_str[0]
    for s in split_str[1:]:
        cum += len(s) + 1
        if cum <= split:
            cum_str += " " + s
            cum_str += r"\n" + s
            cum = len(s)
    return cum_str

# This grabs all of the variables in the current SPSS dataset
varList = [spss.GetVariableName(i) for i in range(spss.GetVariableCount())]

# This looks at the VALUE LABELS and splits them up on multiple lines
def split_vallab(vList, lsplit):
    vardict = spssaux.VariableDict()
    for v in vardict:
        if v in vList:
            vls= v.ValueLabels.keys()
            if vls:
                for k in vls:
                    ss = long_str(v.ValueLabels[k], lsplit)
                    if ss != v.ValueLabels[k]:
                        vn = v.VariableName
                        cmd = '''ADD VALUE LABELS %(vn)s %(k)s \'%(ss)s\'.''' % ( locals() )

# I run this to split up the value labels
split_vallab(varList, 20)

# This function is for VARIABLE LABELS
def split_varlab(vList,lsplit):
    for i,v in enumerate(vList):
        vlab = spss.GetVariableLabel(i)
        if len(vlab) > 0:
            slab = long_str(vlab, lsplit)
            if slab != vlab:
                cmd = '''VARIABLE LABELS %(v)s \'%(slab)s\'.''' % ( locals() )

# I don't run this right now, as I don't need it
split_varlab(varList, 30)

And now we can re-run our same graph command, and it is alittle nicer:

  SOURCE: s=userSource(id("g"))
  DATA: X=col(source(s), name("X"), unit.category())
  DATA: Y=col(source(s), name("Y"))
  COORD: rect(dim(1,2), transpose())
  GUIDE: axis(dim(1))
  GUIDE: axis(dim(2), label("Value"))
  SCALE: linear(dim(2), include(0))
  ELEMENT: interval(position(X*Y))

And you can also go to the variable view to see my inserted line breaks:

SPSS still does some auto-intelligence when to wrap lines in tables/graphs (so if you do DISPLAY DICTIONARY. it will still wrap the X variable label in my default tables, even though I have no line break). But this gives you at least a slight bit of more control over charts/tables.

Some ACS download helpers and Research Software Papers

The blog has been a bit sparse recently, as moving has been kicking my butt (hanging up curtains and recycling 100 boxes today!). So just a few quick notes.

Downloading ACS Data

First, I have posted some helper functions to work with American Community Survey data (ACS) in python. For a quick overview, if you import/define those functions, here is a quick example of downloading the 2019 Texas micro level files (for census tracts and block groups) from the census FTP site. Can pipe in another year (if available) and and whatever state into the function.

# Python code to download American Community Survey data
base = r'??????' #put your path here where you want to download data
temp = os.path.join(base,'2019_5yr_Summary_FileTemplates')
data = os.path.join(base,'tables')


Some locations have census tract data to download, I think the FTP site is the only place to download block group data though. And then based on those files you downloaded, you can then grab the variables you want, and here I show selecting out the block groups from those fields:

interest = ['B03001_001','B02001_005','B07001_017','B99072_001','B99072_007',
labs, comp_tabs = merge_tabs(interest,temp,data)
bg = comp_tabs['NAME'].str.find('Block Group') == 0

Then based on that data, I have an additional helper function to calculate proportions given two lists of the numerators and denominators that you want:

top = ['B17010_002',['B11003_016','B11003_013'],'B08141_002']
bot = ['B17010_001',        'B11002_001'       ,'B08141_001']
nam = ['PovertyFamily','SingleHeadwithKids','NoCarWorkers']
prep_sdh = prop_prep(bg, top, bot, nam)

So here to do Single Headed Households with kids, you need to add in two fields for the numerator ['B11003_016','B11003_013']. I actually initially did this example with census tract data, so not sure if all of these fields are available at the block group level.

I have been doing some work on demographics looking at the social determinants of health (see SVI data download, definitions), hence the work with census data. I have posted my prior example fields I use from the census, but criminologists may just use the social-vulnerability-index from the CDC – it is essentially the same as how people typically define social disorganization.

Peer Review for Criminology Software

Second, jumping the gun a bit on this, but in the works is an overlay journal for CrimRxiv. Part of the contributions we will accept are software contributions, e.g. if you write an R package to do some type of analysis function common in criminology.

It is still in the works, but we have some details up currently and a template for submission (I need to work on a markdown template, currently just a word doc). High level I wanted something like the Journal of Statistical Software or the Journal of Open Source Software (I do not think the level of detail of JSS is necessary, but wanted an example use case, which JoSS does not have).

Just get in touch if you have questions whether your work is on topic. Aim is to be more open to contributions at first. Really excited about this, as publicly sharing code is currently a thankless prospect. Having a peer reviewed venue for such code contributions for criminologists fills a very important role that traditional journals do not.

Future Posts?

Hopefully can steal some time to continue writing posts here and there, but will definitely be busy getting the house in order in the next month. Hoping to do some work on mapping grids and KDE in python/geopandas, and writing about the relationship between healthcare data and police incident report data are two topics I hope to get some time to work on in the near future for the blog.

If folks have requests for particular topics on the blog though feel free to let me know in the comments or via email!