Applying Data Science to Justice Systems: The North Carolina Statewide Warrant Repository (NCAWARE), 2014-2019 (ICPSR 37462)

Version Date: Dec 13, 2022 View help for published

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Travis Taniguchi, RTI International

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This study uses the data from the unified, statewide warrant repository NCAWARE (NC Arrest Warrant Repository) to evaluate a proposed system for processing and serving arrest warrants. The NCAWARE system is maintained by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC). The study takes place within the Greensboro, NC police department where two of the four police districts utilized the system. This study is the result of the unorganized system for processing and serving warrants and the significant backlog of cases with outstanding warrants that exists across the country. One of the purposes of this study was to create a systematic approach for law enforcement agencies to prioritize the execution of warrants.

Taniguchi, Travis. Applying Data Science to Justice Systems: The North Carolina Statewide Warrant Repository (NCAWARE), 2014-2019. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2022-12-13.

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2015-IJ-CX-K016)


Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

2014 -- 2019
  1. This project was carried out by RTI International. The field research was conducted in cooperation with the Greensboro (North Carolina) Police Department (GPD). The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) facilitated the project by providing historical warrant and criminal history data, along with documentation needed to conduct analyses.

  2. Each data file is independent of the other files in the study collection. The data can not nor should not be linked to one another.

  3. Warrant data has been de-identified. Unique warrant and person identifiers were created so that no data maps to official North Carolina state data.

  4. Please note that the final report by the Principal Investigators includes references to some variables and information that does not exist in this study collection. Also, some tables and figures in the report may not match exactly with the data files in this data collection.

  5. The qualitative data collected during Phase III of this project is not available at this time as part of this data collection.


The goal of this project was to apply a set of statistical techniques to develop a data-driven risk assessment and decision making instrument that law enforcement agencies can use to more effectively prioritize warrant execution. Specific research questions asked were:

  • Are people with warrants assigned to the treatment condition serviced more quickly than people assigned to the control condition?
  • Are people with warrants with a higher priority score served more quickly than people with warrants with a lower priority score?
  • Has the time between warrant issuance and warrant service decreased after the implementation of the new process?

Warrants were stratified according to their risk scores into high-, medium-, and low-risk categories. Within each of those categories the system randomly set aside 20% to 50% of cases into a control condition. The percentage of cases randomly assigned to the control group was determined based on the number of incoming cases and varied over time in response to the number of outstanding warrants. The tool was utilized in two of the four Greensboro police districts.


People with warrants assigned or served by the Greensboro (NC) Police Department.

Event/Process, Individuals, Time Unit

The first two datasets (DS1 and DS2) have the exact same variables in each file. The other datasets have similar variables but are independent of one another. The following list gives a quick overview of each file but is not comprehensive.

  • DS1 and DS2: age of individual, total counts of prior misdemeanor, felony, and violent crime charges and convictions, date of warrant issued
  • DS3 and DS4: date warrant issued and served, length of time between warrant issued and served
  • DS5 and DS6: count of non-traffic stop, proactive, self-initiated activity occurring during each week

Not applicable




2022-12-13 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Not applicable



  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

NACJD logo

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.