Aaron Mendelson

Investigative Reporter

Contact Aaron Mendelson

I use data to power accountability journalism. That means digging through databases and public records to uncover stories about how your identity and zip code can affect the kind of justice you get in Southern California.

As a data reporter, my work spans different beats. I’ve covered the avalanche of outside money in local politics, spiking firearms sales, Los Angeles’ bicycle infrastructure, and police militarization. I helped build a unique database on police shootings in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties for KPCC’s Officer Involved project.

I attended Macalester College and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and got my start in journalism at KFAI Fresh Air Radio in Minneapolis.

Have a question you want me to answer? Ask me below.

Stories by Aaron Mendelson

Students track the invisible threat of air pollution

Real-life science lessons in Lincoln Heights are leading to student advocates for cleaner air.

How much rain has SoCal received this winter? Not much at all

How much rain has El Niño brought this winter? We crunched rainfall data from 20 rain gauges in greater Southern California to get an answer.

Map: Where child care facilities are next to highways

Living next to heavy traffic can be harmful to children's health. Yet dozens of child care centers in Los Angeles County are located next to heavily-trafficked highways.

Polluted Preschools: 169 LA childcare centers are too close to freeways

A KPCC investigation found 169 childcare centers located too close to highly-trafficked freeways, putting small children's health at risk.

Man paralyzed by LAPD gets $5.7 million one decade later

LAPD officers shot then-gang member Robert Contreras in the back and left him paralyzed. Officers thought he had a gun, but he ended up being unarmed.

No gun found in Florence-Firestone shooting

Cristian Rene Medina, 23, allegedly took a "shooting stance" and pointed his hands at deputies responding to reports of a robbery. No gun has been found.

LAUSD returns controversial rifles — but keeps pistols and shotguns

The school district's police force turned in rifles under public pressure but continues to hold onto pistols, rifles and other military-style weapons.

How much rain has SoCal received this year? Here's one way to keep track

The L.A. area got drenched Sunday, with some areas getting up to three inches of rain. It's an El Niño year. So how does this year's rainfall compare to normal?

How does this year's rainfall stack up?

How much rain has El Niño brought to the Los Angeles area? We crunched rainfall data from 20 rain gauges in greater Southern California to get an answer.

Gun sales spiked in California after San Bernardino shooting

New data shows that Californians rushed to purchase guns last month, especially in the days after the San Bernardino shooting.

Search 2015-2016 kindergarten immunization levels in SoCal

This user-friendly database shows 2015-16 vaccination exemption rates for incoming kindergartners at schools across Southern California.

Deaths of homeless rose drastically in 2015 in OC

Deaths among homeless people in Orange County jumped 53 percent over the last two years, according to coroner's data.

FAQ: The California assault weapons ban

Rifles used in a mass shooting at a Dec. 2 holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino were legal to purchase in the state of California. However both had been modified to make them illegal under the state's assault weapons ban. Here's a primer on that ban.

More than 80 officer-involved shootings tallied in LA County in 2015

The number of shootings by police so far this year is up from 2014, when the district attorney counted 74 such incidents.

SoCal's Muslim community geographically, ethnically diverse

Southern California's Muslim community is small but diverse, spanning every county in the region and encompassing several ethnic and national backgrounds.