How Wacky Has LA’s Weather Been in 2019? These Charts Help Explain

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Weather

The famously temperate* weather in Los Angeles just can’t quite figure itself out this year.

This year brought “Snowing in Calabasas!”, which was part of the “February to remembrrr”, and by April tempurates were unseasonably balmy. We also got rain and more rain and then some more rain.

These charts help explain the wackiness (at least by Los Angeles standards):

* Full disclosure: I grew up in Texas. The last full year I lived there, in 2010, the temperature reached 100 degrees during 69 days. “Temperate” is a relative word.

Charting Border Agents, Apprehensions

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Policy & Politics

The U.S. Border Patrol told Congress on Tuesday that the number of apprehensions along the Mexican border was at a 40-year low. The trend prompted the agency to propose a new national strategy, the Associated Press reports:

For nearly two decades, the Border Patrol has relied on a strategy that blanketed heavily trafficked corridors for illegal immigrants with agents, pushing migrants to more remote areas where they would presumably be easier to capture and discouraged from trying again…. The new approach is more nuanced. Outlined in a 32-page document that took more than two years to develop, agents will now draw on intelligence to identify repeat crossers and others perceived as security threats, said Fisher.

This chart shows how the number of apprehensions has changed each year since 1925. The last time agents apprehended fewer people, Richard Nixon was in the White House (view larger version):

The number of apprehensions is down, experts believe, thanks in part to aggressive enforcement in recent years. This chart shows how the number of agents has increased substantially in the last 20 years (view larger version):

Data source: Border Patrol | Download

Charting Car Burglaries in DC

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Crime

Last week someone burglarized our car. Fortunately the burglar didn’t get much, if anything, and a window wasn’t smashed. (Someone left the door unlocked, apparently). But it was a reminder that, even though our Brookland neighborhood is quiet and safe, we’re still vulnerable to property crimes. Then this morning I noticed that a neighbor’s driver-side window had been smashed in a burglary.

Looking at the data, it doesn’t appear that car burglaries are on the rise in our larger neighborhood, Ward 5. Residents here reported 109 car burglaries in January, for example, but only 59 in April. There also doesn’t appear to be a week-to-week uptick in April. I wondered whether the time of year makes car burglaries more likely, so I downloaded six years of major crime data (170,000 incidents of murder, robbery, theft, car theft, arson, sexual abuse, and vehicle burglary) to find out.

This chart shows the six-year trend, by month, in the city for car burglaries. There has been an uptick in recent history during May, it seems. Incidents of the offense have then leveled off before spiking again in the fall:

Our ward has shown a somewhat similar trend:

Data source:

Comparing President Obama’s Job Approval Rates Among Different American Groups

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics, Policy & Politics

President Obama’s approval rating has crept just above 50 percent, his best position in a year, the latest Gallup survey figures show. The Washington Examiner adds some historical context:

Obama’s numbers peaked at 53 percent in the last week of May [2011], but then dipped below 50 percent in June [2011]. His approval ratings sank to a low of 38 percent in October 2011, before returning to 50 percent in mid-April 2011.

Click on the image to interact with the charts.

Using Gallup’s weekly trends data — which can be sliced into groups based on religion, gender and party identification, among other categories — I created numerous interactive charts to show the trends since his presidency began in January 2009.

The charts reveal some interesting, though perhaps not unexpected, trends. First, of course, there’s a clear partisan divide: 83 percent of Democrats approve of the president’s performance while just 13 percent of Republicans approve, according to the most recent weekly trends data provided by Gallup (through April 29).

But other differences are evident.  Only 40 percent of people who told Gallup that they attend church weekly approve. Compare that with 54 percent approval among people who rarely go to church. Older and wealthier people also approve at lower rates.

I’ve broken the numbers out into 21 different area charts. Explore them here.

A warning: The page is a bit sluggish in Internet Explorer. I haven’t had time to fix that. So, click here to get a proper browser.

UPDATE: I added fresh data on May 27, so the graphics are current. Check them out.