UK: New online crime maps, www.police.uk, for England and Wales have been launched, allowing users to see which offences have been reported in their local streets. One can search for information on crime and anti-social behaviour by entering a street name or postcode.
Visitors to the website, which cost GBP 300,000 to develop, will be able to find out which crimes have taken place on or near their street within the last month and which officers are responsible for their area.
According to Home Secretary Theresa May, people had lost confidence in national crime figures and the maps would give real facts and make police more accountable. May also said that she expected the public reaction to be “positive” and denied the information could increase fear or drive down house prices in some areas.
Information on crime is broken down into six categories – burglary, robbery, vehicle crime, violence, other crime and anti-social behaviour. Sex crimes have been included in the “other” category, along with crimes such as theft and shoplifting, to help prevent victims from being identified.
Local police appeals and details of police community meetings will also be published alongside the maps. Crime trends will also be established as the site develops and could be extended to include details on the outcomes of court cases, or a system for individual victims to track the progress of their case online.
The government said the site was an important part of its “transparency agenda”, making the data available in an open format so that communities could use it to “help people engage with the police in a meaningful way”.