Crime Data for Mapping

There is much interest in publishing data about crime in ways which are accessible and useful to the public. In the data mashing world, this discussion naturally centres on the uses involving mapping as people have seen the examples of geographically presented data from the USA.

The Task Force has started to look into this subject. We are building a picture of the different data sources that are available and how they are currently presented on the internet.

The Home Office publish two main sources of crime data, the British Crime Survey (BCS) and police recorded crime. The BCS data provides national and regional trends. This is very high level and can have only general relevance to someone in their home trying to work out levels of crime in their neighbourhood. Police recorded crime is published annually at Basic Command Unit, Local Authority and Crime and Disorder Partnership levels, but none of these are fine enough to give information on crime levels in a person’s immediate neighbourhood.

Police Forces in England and Wales will publish in July this year more granular information on the crimes they record (so-called ‘recorded crime’). In particular the data should be localised and in some cases geo-tagged and catetgorised by types of crime. Each of the 43 forces will publish its own data. Some forces and third parties such as academics are already experimenting with online crime maps. We have put links in the rolling list of sites here.

The Taskforce will be working with Home Office, the police and other partners on how to present these fascinating new data sets in a form that is mashable. We are interested to hear from the mash up community, the police, academics, citizens, neighbourhood watch teams or anyone interested in crime mapping on what uses this could be put to and what issues to look out for. Please use the comment fucntion below to get in touch and start a discussion.

Article by Task Force Secretariat.


Filed under Crime

2 responses to “Crime Data for Mapping

  1. Having tried to persuade my local police to provide geo-tagged data on recorded crime for a local community website project, and having received a polite but firm ‘no’, I wish these initiatives all the very best.

    Should we be concerned by the statement that ‘Each of the 43 forces will publish its own data.’? To be meaningful, we need the data to be compiled using comparable techniques, and we need it to come in comparable formats. I fear we’ll end up with 43 different XML schemas if we’re not careful.

  2. I wonder whether it is also worth starting from the other end and asking what data would be interesting and useful for the citizen, i.e. data the citizen could do something with. Data about burglaries and violent crime may lead me to move house or start campaigning for more police resources (or simply become more concerned about crime), but there must surely be data that the citizen could engage with in more positive ways, e.g. road accident statistics for your own or your children’s travel plans (cycling to work/school), or something citizens can input into, e.g. a mash-up showing how safe citizens feel in different places at different times perhaps also including some information on regularity of police patrols in that area etc. The other point that strikes me is that to make a site compelling the police data would probably have to one feed among a range of other feeds otherwise while it is interesting to know every time any kind of crime happens within X kilometres of my house/business, it does not really do a great deal for me (apart from increasing my stress levels!).

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