Street level crime problem - maps

Street level crime problem, on-line maps

Street level crime problem, on-line maps. Is this the new, big idea or, a waste of tax-payers money ?

Street level crime problem

There's no doubt that street level crime in the UK is a massive problem and with Police forces across the Country facing the inevitable, massive financial cuts, there's bound to be fewer Bobbies on the beat.
Is street level crime going to get even worse than it already is ?

Certain areas are a 'no-go' for the Police

A Government initiative is needed to tackle the level of street crime in the UK, but will publishing on-line street level crime maps help to solve the problem or, just highlight how desperate the problem really is ? Residents of certain neighbourhoods have been saying for a long time that their streets are no go areas for the Police - now, they can prove it !

Closed, gated communities ?

The on-line street level crime maps cost a substantial amount of money to publish. Could the money have been better spent ? Are we, like the Americans before us, heading for closed, gated communities or, is this the answer to the problem of street level crime in the UK ?

Mapping the UK's crime problem

Article first published 05-02-2011
This week, at a cost of £300,000 (money well-spent in my opinion), the UK's Home Office launched a new on-line service.
The UK Police force's street level crime maps for England and Wales are a graphical representation of the amount of crime that is reported - searchable by post code !
The new service came under immediate pressure with a recorded 75 thousand hits per minute which caused the web site to crash, but why 'so' many visitors to the new web site ?
Was this just the initial 'rush' from a general public interested to see how much crime is being committed in the area that they live ?
Was it the sheer numbers of visiting estate agents, looking to cross reference the post codes of the houses that they have for sale, with the crime statistics for that area ?
Was it 'IT-savvy' burglars visiting the web site to search for the areas with the least reported crime and therefore, by definition, the fewest Bobbie's on-the-beat ?
Was it the internet traffic from the legion of security companies searching for the best place to go and knock on front doors to sell their burglar alarms and security products ?
Did the initial interest come from the offices of the various insurance companies up and down the Country, as they search to find the worst crime-ridden areas and bump their insurance premiums accordingly ?
Wherever the web site traffic came from, the new on-line service is being paraded by the UK's Home Office as the latest 'high-tech' tool in the Government's fight against crime.
Theresa May said that the maps would
give "real facts" and make the "Police more accountable". She also commented "I think people are going to welcome the fact they can really see what's happening with crime in their area, not just on their street but in their neighbourhood."
Hang on Mrs. May, some people have been able to do that all along, and without switching on their computers ! In the worst areas, all they have to do is draw the curtains and look out of the front window !
No doubt, the Police Chief's presiding over the worst 'crime' areas will announce that their area has the greatest 'crime-score' because their detection rates are better and those responsible for the areas with the least reported crime will say that they are 'best' because they offer the greatest deterrent to criminals.
The new service has been criticized in certain quarters as being too much information for the general public to consume and the death of the housing market in crime-ridden areas, but whatever the result of publishing the statistics turns out to be, if the sheer numbers of web site visitors is anything to go by, the new UK Police force's on-line, street-level crime maps, if nothing else, have captured the imagination of the general public.
The web site opens - "Welcome to your local crime and policing website for England and Wales. This website provides you with helpful information about crime and policing in your
area. Enter your postcode, town, village or street into the search box below, and get instant access to street-level crime maps and data, as well as details of your local policing team and beat meetings"
Entering a post code or, address takes you to a page where you can see the statistics for that area (your search criteria).
The information includes: the amount of reported crime (for the last month); a contact telephone number, email address and RSS feeds for the Police force responsible for that area; the location of the next scheduled event for that area (eg. PACT meetings etc. - Police And Communities Together) and there are the names of local Police officers, the address of the local Police station and a lot more helpful information and advice.
The introduction of the new service has set the "comments" sections of the major newspapers, bulletin boards and forums alight! It seems that this topic is set to run for a while yet as multitudes of people post their comments and opinions about this new development.
The funniest one yet is this one, taken from www.guardian.co.uk where "nattybumpo" commented - "Being a criminal it is nice to know that my work and the work of many of my colleagues is finally being noticed. For far too long our contribution to society has not been recognised. Now all we need is some type of awards ceremony and certification of our work; and perhaps a few statuettes then we can have our proper place in this world!!! See you outside Hampstead P.O. at nine sharp tomorrow big Dave....."
Don't you just love the internet !

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