The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2012, March 24-25

Center for Homicide Research

Paired with Ruby off Rails

The Center for Homicide Research is a Minneapolis-based, volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization addressing the issue of homicide in our communities. First founded in 1999 as a nonprofit organization to research gay homicide, the name was changed in 2004 to the Center for Homicide Research. Our mission expanded in 2007 to include all types of homicide, yet retain a focus on marginalized and disenfranchised communities.

Without sound information about homicide, the community and law enforcement cannot understand, solve and prevent all homicides. For too long, minority communities who are most impacted by homicide and the criminal justice establishment have functioned with incomplete or inaccurate information.

The Center aims develops original research on homicide and use this knowledge to develop, and assist in the creation of, new fact-based tools to more effectively address all homicides. This includes, but is not limited to, research briefs, research publications, compendiums of information and resources, bibliographies, training, seminars, and so forth.

Over the years the Center has had a diverse group of over 350 undergraduate, graduate, and law student interns who have participated in short-term investigations as well as long-term data collection and study.

The Center for Homicide Research has proven to be a leader in homicide research and a partner in helping create safer communities.

What new functionality we are looking for

The Center's work is cutting-edge, but our website design is not.

The Center's website is a tool to disseminate original, ground breaking research and serves as a resource to community members and activists, law enforcement personal, students, educators and our donors.

The Center wishes to have a newly design website that brings the Center up to speed on current design practices and trends. The ability to integrate website functionality such as archived reports, search fields, social media links, and downloadable resources would help enhance organizational outreach and better engage our website visitors.

The new website would be well designed and organized so that the Center's research, services and resources are at the forefront and easily accessible. In addition, the website would be able to be managed and updated efficiently by the Center's volunteer-driven staff.

How the new functionality will help

The Center for Homicide Research mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding of the unique nature of homicide through sound empirical research, critical analysis, and effective community partnerships.

The Center's website design is stuck in 1999. Although the website currently functional and updated frequently, the over all design has not changed in over a decade. A redesigned website would help the Center more effectively disseminate ground breaking research and increase information sharing and community partnerships with the addition of new website tools and functionality.

The Center's work is of absolute importance and is necessary in creating safer communities, it deserves a website that effectively shares its mission and places its research, services and resources at the forefront.

The Center operates on volunteer hours and a small operating budget, funding does not currently exist for IT staff or a webmaster. The difference between a clunky, out-dated website and a newly designed website, with the assistance of the Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, may mean be the difference in catching the eye of a philanthropist, activist, law enforcement personal or student who shares the mission of the Center.

The Center is a national leader in homicide research, it deserves a website that reflects this work. Thank you for your consideration.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

Thumbnail_homicidebefore Thumbnail_homicideafter

10 Messages from Supporters

2012-02-26 05:30:22 UTC
Cory felda

The Center for Homicide Research knows homicide. It knows statistics. It knows research. It knows long hours of devotion. What it doesn't know, is how to design a home page.
I volunteered at the Center for about 2 years. The amount of work that the volunteers and researchers do here (for free) completely blows my mind. The education the students receive here(for free) would cost the same as a 5-credit course at a major university. The experiences of all the volunteers, the relationships developed, and implications of the research that's conducted here is absolutely priceless. Law Enforcement agencies from around the country have used the research from the Center in their own cases, and the Center has even been credited for solving a few homicides. The lead researcher and founder, Mr. Dallas Drake, gives himself completely into teaching each and every person who volunteers at the Center, and encourages so much professional growth that there's no chance for any sort of "failure" while under his eye. Who knows, the Center could be responsible for helping solve the homicide of one of your own loved ones (for free). Realizing this, isn't a new website for the Center the least that could be given in return?

2012-02-27 17:15:54 UTC

I cannot think of a more deserving non-profit. Dallas Drake is an amazing person and mentor. The number of hours he has dedicated to making a difference in GLBT community and to communities around the nation affected by homicide is mind-boggling. His dedication is infectious and has kept hundreds of volunteers motivated over the thirteen years the Center has been operating.

Having a website redesign will be an extremely beneficial leap forward for the Center. The volunteer staff is just that 100% volunteer – a website redesign would be an amazing gift for a group of amazing people that has dedicated countless hours to making our communities a safer place to call home. The redesign would help the Center disseminate information in a more efficient and informative way to better serve community members, educators, activists, students, and law enforcement agencies around the country.c

2012-02-27 19:35:49 UTC

Through the hard work of Dallas Drake, and the efforts of hundreds of interns, victims of homicide now have a voice.

The Center for Homicide Research is breaking new ground and helping create safer communities by preventing homicide. I can's think of a more deserving organization to be chosen to participate in The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge.

2012-02-27 19:38:01 UTC

The Center for Homicide Research is the perfect candidate for this project. The Center for over ten years has built a reputation as the premiere organization in the nation for homicide research. This is only possible because of the dedicated, hard working interns and staff who have labored to build a strong nonprofit that is truly having an impact.

With an updated website the Center could continue to grow and expand its outreach. The Center is an organization that could benefit in many ways from an updated website. A revamped website would help internal efficiency and increase external outreach.

As a former employee of the Center I would love to see them be a part of this project, and know that they would benefit greatly from it. Most importantly a new website will help the Center achieve its bold mission of preventing and ultimately ending homicide.

2012-02-28 01:59:24 UTC

The Center for Homicide Research is such a deserving non-profit! The work that Mr. Drake and his dedicated team of volunteers does is amazing. The impact they have had on the GLBT community is astounding. He won the Brian Coyle Human Rights Campaign Leadership award last year. A redesign would be an invaluable gift to the Center and to Dallas!

2012-02-28 02:38:33 UTC
J. Allen

I love the Center for Homicide Research! The Center has built a reputation as a leader in homicide research. Please give the Center a helping hand redesigning their website.

2012-02-28 03:33:06 UTC
Shane Lindemoen

The great English Jurist Henry de Bracton once remarked of the process for understanding the nature of intent, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This self-defining ethic has almost become a sort of moral standard for those in the field of criminal-justice, sociology and human ecology. You see, one of the main premises at the Center for Homicide Research is that homicide can be prevented.

In fact, that is the exact manifesto I remember above the Center’s white board, in big bold letters, “Homicide can be prevented.” It’s a reminder, really. And within the phrenetic movements of our separate lives, as we go about our separate business, in this very deterministic universe, it’s easy to forget that we’re all in this together, that people are suffering, and that a possibility exists out there which suggests that countless homicides could have been prevented. It’s not a prospect that most of us can easily ignore.

The truth is that homicide is a pattern of human behavior, and patterns of behavior are entirely indicative of our culture. I guess my point is that the gravity of work that is being done at the CHR is important and necessary, and it deserves an excellent website. It needs your help. A good, refined-looking website may mean the difference between catching the eye of some philanthropist or other, and disappearing forever. If you had the talent and the skill to build an excellent website, that could give an excellent, long-standing, community-based organization a chance to generate a bit more revenue, to continue doing very, very important research that could possibly save the lives of countless individuals, then I would hope you give the CHR due regard.

2012-02-28 04:08:42 UTC

You won't find an organization that has a leader that devotes every minute of his day to a message that can have a profound impact on so many. Dallas Drake is committed to the message that homicide can be prevented and there is no one more deserving of this than Mr. Drake, his interns and the center.

2012-03-02 02:44:44 UTC

CHR has been a part of my life for about four years now. I started as a summer intern and have now been a Board member for over a year. Anyone who has witnessed the Center's work and the dedication of its volunteer staff knows that this organization is something special. I have often wondered what kind of supernatural glue is holding the Center together through the multitude of challenges and triumphs we have faced over the last few years. It's not hard to speculate that Dallas Drake is the major reason why the Center continues to thrive against all odds, but I would argue that the Center's mission also plays a large part. I can't describe how the research, and more often the individual cases, affects everyone regardless of demographics, but it is safe to say that people rarely, if ever, turn their backs once they realize exactly what CHR is all about. What we need is a vehicle to widen our circle of supporters and a chance to spread the message that homicide is preventable. Websites are the best tool, and ours could certainly use an overhaul. Please consider us for the challenge at hand--you will not find a more appreciative organization!

2012-03-02 02:53:13 UTC

Okay, so I just checked out some of our competition, and I have to say their websites already look pretty splashy compared to ours. If you want a real CHALLENGE, take us on! We've got tons of information to share and loads of interactive ideas and no webmaster to make it happen. Join us, Fellow Nerds, and together we will do great things!

Our Mission to promote greater knowledge and understanding of the unique nature of homicide through sound empirical research, critical analysis, and effective community partnerships. We aim to increase homicide case solvability, articulate issues surrounding homicide and reduce incidence of homicide.