Day 2 done and dusted of Dashboard Week! So far it has been a really fun week – I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to produce and present a tangible product each day as well as getting to hone and creatively use my skills I’ve learnt over the past few months.


Today’s challenge was to find data from the ABS Crime page and create a Power BI Report to share interesting insights or analysis on your selected dataset. It is well known that most people prefer using Tableau over Power BI, however, I really enjoy using Power BI, so I was super keen to have a crack at this challenge.


Selecting Data and Planning Out a Story


Since we had free reign on deciding which crime data set we could use, it made us think about what we would want to show, and what story we would want to paint. After scouring through all the various data sets, I decided to focus on “Crime Victimisation”, which pretty much just includes data on the occurrences of types of individual assault and household crimes such as property damage, break ins, car theft, etc… I chose this dataset as I hoped to find a trend on whether crime in Australia is decreasing or increasing, and then try to find to find reasons as to why that is happening.


Preparing the Data in Alteryx


So, the ABS is a wonderful platform for all data nerds. However, the structure of their xlsx files are less than ideal for analysis in Power BI. This is where Alteryx comes in and saves the day! Now, the other challenge was actually inputting the data into Alteryx. Since there is such variance in the schema of the xlsx sheets, I had to set up multiple batch macros to input the sheets. However, this proved to not be a time-wise activity (as we only really have 2/3rds of day to clean up the data and create a report). So rather than buckling down to solve a problem and make the batch macros work seemlessly with the varying xlsx schemas, I decided to select the “Crime Victimisation” dataset. Thankfully this dataset had all the same schema for the sheets, making the inputting of data much less time-consuming.


Building the Report in Power BI


I wanted to set out my Power BI as a two page report – one that offers a more granular view of the types and occurrences of crime at a state level, and then one that views the data from a national viewpoint. The main reasoning behind also viewing it from a national point (since the aggregation of all the state totals gives you the same as that of a national view) was because a specific crime category was only available at the national level. I really wanted to focus on this category as over time, it’s occurrence was increasing, whereas all the other areas of crime were decreasing over time.


Ideally, if this were a longer project I would jump in to research why this was happening, what things contribute to this movement, how can it be fixed, can it be fixed, etc… But as this is Dashboard Week, I had to turn my head the other way and focus on developing the MVP first before going down the rabbit-hole of research and analysis (which I will probably do so after this week!).


You can view my report here on Novy Pro.


Final Thought


Day 2 was an overall success! I made sure to timebox myself better and made sure I was efficient in my data exploration. I also made a point of having a strong concept of what the MVP was, which helped in me reaching a realistic target within the timeframe of the day. Hopefully I have been able to incorporate all my feedback from Day 1 into this report, and all coming dashboards this week!


Ben Devries
Author: Ben Devries

Ben graduated with a Bachelor of Music Performance (Honours) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2023. For the last few years, Ben spent his time working as a professional jazz saxophonist which led him all around the world performing in cities such as London, San Fransisco, and of course, Sydney. But despite his musical background, Ben’s interest in data analytics came from his passion for problem solving and understanding the little details of how and why things work. From there, Ben went on to discover the Data School Down Under, and throughout the interview process became further inspired not only by the logic and flexibility of data, but also the ability for data to provide valuable insights to help solve complex business problems and present meaningful stories. Ben is excited to join Data School Down Under, and hopes to utilise his creativity, improvisational skills, and ability to draw connections upon diverse areas of information learnt as a musician within his new career in data analytics. In his spare time, Ben still enjoys playing his saxophone, as well as downhill longboarding, and spending time with his family.