Lookup Databases

Remember, before using any data in a story, question the data:

  • Who compiled it?
  • Why was it compiled?
  • Where did the data come from?
  • For numbers, find the index, so you know what each unit of data means
  • and remember mistakes are common in databases so telephone the source to confirm questionable info


Agriculture/Food Education Property Taxes
Business Environment Research
Courts Government Safety (fire et al)
Covid-19 Health Sports
Crime Nonprofits/Charities Transportation
Data People Finders Weather
Demographics Polls
Dis/Misinformation Politics
Click the underlined category above to jump directly to it.



  • Crop Production Data for NY State – what crops are grown, on how many acres, at what value
  • Onondaga Grown campaign — find local farms, farmers markets and restaurants serving locally-produced foods


  • Bureau of Labor Statistics — databases, tables and calculators on employment pay, inflation and much more
  • Edgar database –from the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission. Get basic information and finances for publicly-held companies:
    • 10-K — the annual report
    • 10- Q – covers business operations, property, finances, pending suits, officers, general background
    • 8-K — required for significant changes such as a sale, new management, a lawsuit,  court judgment or fines
    • DEF 14A of Form 14(a) breaks down executive compensation
    • S-4 — shows when corporate management buys of sells shares in the company, for example if the CEO or CFO is unloading or buying up the stock
    • S-1 outlines the company’s initial public offering (IPO)  when the company is first going public
  • NERDS database from Edunomics Lab at Georgetown — provides the federal data on how much is spent per school (rather than by district). Must register to download the spreadsheet . This will take some time and data crunching to analyze and see the webinar on this page for an overview.
  • NY State Employee Salary Database from Post Standard. Use your SU subscription to access.
  • Trade/ Imports Exports — info and statistics
  • Statistica via SU Libraries — all types of statistics here
  • Union disclosure info from US Dept of Labor — officers, payees, financials.  See this help guide  
  • Violation Tracker from Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First —  corporate misconduct of consumer protection,  environment, wage & hour, safety, discrimination, price-fixing, and more from 2000. Plus some state cases.


  • Civil case search for Auburn, Cortland, Ithaca, Oneida, Rome Syracuse, Utica and other  City Courts in NYS
  • Civil case search for  supreme court civil cases in NYS counties.
  • Criminal case search (some counties, not Onondaga)
  • Indictments  —  Onondaga County from Post Standard. 
  • Uniform Crime Reports — reported violent crimes (agencies over 10,000) or by state

Covid-19 Resources



  • Blotters — CNY/local blotters — searchable by name, date, charge and agency.  Updated weekly by Post Standard/syracuse.com
  • Gun Violence
    • note: without any federal guidelines or statistics some media and organizations keep a variety of statistics on gun violence. Be sure to understand what each counts and doesn’t. See more information in this Rand paper.
    • US Mass Shootings  — from Mother Jones magazine. Counts indiscriminate shootings in public places, with four or more victims; compiled from media reports. Excludes armed robbery, gang violence or domestic violence.
    • Gun Violence Archive —  from independent research group. All gun incidents, but has a sub-category of mass shootings of four or more victims. Compiled from law enforcement, media, government and commercial sources.
    • School Shooting List — archive from CNN, as of May, 2018. not updated
  • Onondaga County Sheriff inmate lookup — find if someone is being held at the Justice Center downtown
  • Onondaga County UCR/index crimes, 2015-2019 — by agency. see info above of what comprises the UCR reports.
  • Syracuse crime from CompStat — These are statistics from the federal so-called “index crimes” reported in the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) Part 1 offenses: murder and non-negligent homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny-theft, and arson. note: as of 2021, the city and county are working to move to the new federal NIBRS system which will provide statistics on more crimes.
  • Syracuse unsolved homicides




  • Syracuse.com Data & Statistics  — includes many lookup databases for regional statistics including housing prices, federal relief money, job losses,  election rolls, graduation rates and much more.  From Post Standard/syracuse.com


  •  CensusReporter – an independent site for journalists to make it easier to search data. From Knight Foundation
  • Poverty data for Syracuse from Community Foundation. Updated Jan. ’21 and each summer
  • Quick Facts   — use to search for basic common data by state, county or city
  • U.S. Census  — browse by topic. Includes 2020 estimates of population by age, sex, race/origin. See also Facts Quick. See also this Census Handbook for Media
  • Vital Statistics, NY State:  birth, death, infant mortality, causes of death and morenote: latest stats are from 2017 and these tables do not include New York City
  • WISQARS, Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System — CDC’s stats on fatal and nonfatal injuries, violent death and cost of injury data. death and injury rates


  • Is This Legit  — Short videos for teens, by teens, who check out whether news or opinion is true. From Media Wise/Poynter Institute
  • Legal Fact Check — From the American Bar Association.
  • PolitiFact — Poynter Institute checks out politician’s statements and gives a rating of true, false or pants-on-fire
  • Snopes — check out rumors here


  • College Scorecard — includes data, by institution, for enrollment, student aid, typical student loan payments, graduation rathes and more.
  • School district per pupil spending in NY State  and in Central New York 
    • note:  the funding for Syracuse City Schools is different and thus not in this database.
  • High school graduation rates — includes every public high school in New York. From the Post Standard/syracuse.com



Onondaga County Fire Response Reports — gives the time it took the fire department to get to the scene by month and year to date


see also Politics


for Covid resources see above, alpha “C”

Non-profits and Charities

  • Charity Watch — A watchdog on charities
  • Guidestar — search IRS 990 forms on non-profits to get basic information and finances for the non-profit or charity.   requires registration
  • IRS Charity search — fin out if a group is really a registered charity
  • NYS charities database — check out charities in New York State

People Finders



  • Campaign Finance
    • Open Secrets — non-governmental, but reputable site for contributions to federal campaigns
  • Democratic Policy Proposals: in-depth research from Journalist’s Resource
  • VoteSmart.org — speeches and position papers for federal candidates
  • VoteView – shows congressional roll call through history on an ideological map. Local Rep. John Katko’s votes are here.




  • High School Sport Stats — includes info on NY Section II and III. Organized by season.
  • Journalist Toolbox/Sports — sports data, sports medicine, business and law, sports sociology & race, Olympics, high school sports and much more. From Society for Professional Journalists


Property Taxes

Tax Comparison by country



This page is maintained by Professor Barbara Fought. Last updated 4/19/21