30 years of Recorded Crime versus the British Crime Survey

Posted: July 29th, 2011  Author:   No Comments »

Which of these is correct?













The answer has got to be both and neither of them.  I don’t think you’ll ever get 100% capture of all the crimes and I have my doubts about the British Crim Survey.  Still, there is a big gap between the two because the BCS allows for unreported crime which seems to have peaked in the mid to late 90s at around 12 million plus.


A long-term policy goal should be to keep narrowing the gap between the two.  That would I suggest require some radical innovation to the lower the cost and inconvenience in reporting crime i) by the victim and ii) the recording of the crimes by the Police and Insurance companies.


See the latest annual British Crime Survey here from where I extracted this chart, Figure 1.1 on page 15.


UKCrimeStats back online and updated to June 2011

Posted: July 29th, 2011  Author:   No Comments »

Thanks to everybody for your patience while we moved our server. I’m pleased to say that we are back and running 48 hours earlier than anticipated – so a special thanks to our Chief Data Architect.


Memo to the world – never set targets you can’t exceed !


And moreover, we now have the data for June 2011 updated – 328,513 crimes and 249,372 ASB incidents. As our National Picture page shows, everything has dropped in June apart from ASB incidents which have increased marginally since May.


UkCrimeStats will be down this weekend . .

Posted: July 27th, 2011  Author:   No Comments »

Just in case you missed the big red sign at the top of the page, we wanted to give you advance warning the site will be going down from tomorrow midday to Sunday 31st July 6 pm.


Actually, it may be up again a lot quicker than that but we’d rather over than under deliver !


To cope with growing demand, we’ve found an excellent new data centre so that we can keep scaling up without any loss – in fact with some improvement – of performance.


We’ve been going now since 10th April and have made a number of substantial upgrades since then with more in the pipeline. Probably the strangest moment though was when our crime website  had to go offline for a few days because of metal theft from a BT exchange near our data centre !


Many thanks to all of you for visiting the site, your comments, suggestions and emails. We’ll be back before you know it.


The 4 different types of Robbery . . .

Posted: July 27th, 2011  Author:   No Comments »

Very interesting comment by Fred in the post below which I’ve replied to and look forward to his response.  By the way, we don’t mind at all if you prefer to post comments under another name.  I reckon it’s a safe bet that Fred isn’t really called Fred !


In the meantime, here’s the final tranche on Robbery the offence breakdown as classified by the NPIA.  I didn’t know that Robbers can get life sentences – it must be a long time since a judge has done that. But all four robbery offences carry maximum life sentences.


1. Robbery –  personal
2. Robbery – business
3. Assault with intent to rob – personal
4. Assault with intent to rob – business


I was looking for some sort of image to sum up robbery in the popular imagination and people in hoods in shops seems to do it.



Google’s suggestions of related search somehow seemed a lot more interesting than those clinically described offences above from the 1968 Theft Act – bank robbery, armed robbery, house robbery, robbery cartoon, street robbery . . .



The USA has 3 times as many criminal offences as the UK

Posted: July 26th, 2011  Author:   2 Comments »

I was staggered yesterday to learn that according to a 2008 study by retired Louisiana State University law professor John Baker, the USA has an estimated 4,500 crimes in federal statutes. But I was only really surprised because I had only just found out that the UK has precisiely  1,455 – 3 times less. We’ll be producing a separate page of all UK criminal offences for you shortly.


Comparing crime and punishment between nations is always very difficult.  Many of us have heard a lot about the difference respective sizes of the prison populations in the UK and USA – 85,000 v. 2.2 million (according to this wiki) which even adjusted for populations of 62 and 307 million is a huge difference. Are we Brits ready to have 5 times as many prisoners as we do now and so be like America?


But here’s the beef: do we want that many lawyers as well?


It says something about how the reach of the law has become so pervasive in America that they don’t know quite how many crimes are on the federal statutes whereas we at least still do. Unkind observers would be tempted to conclude that in the USA, the lawyers really have taken over !


According to the same article, a major reason for the growth of these criminal statutes are;


lawmakers responding to hot-button issues—environmental messes, financial machinations, child kidnappings, consumer protection—with calls for federal criminal penalties. Federal regulations can also carry the force of federal criminal law, adding to the legal complexity


For all that, I’m not trying to grandstand here and say Britain and its boys in blue lead the world etc.  Far from it. No one in Brtain for example, has a clue how many regulations are in force today and precisely how many originate from Brussels and nor is there any proper cost benefit analysis, just a sort of regulatory impact assessment.


In fact, I think there’s actually a great deal we could import and learn from America’s crimefighters.  Starting with Bill Bratton, which just might be on the cards . . .


Vehicle crime – what are the different types?

Posted: July 25th, 2011  Author:   1 Comment »

So now we’re onto vehicle crime – of which there were  36,283 in May 2011 across England and Wales.


Nearly all of us have been victim of some sort of vehicle crime. I can think of three incidents that happened to myself – albeit around 10-15 years or so ago. Once when I foolishly left a coat on the rear seat, the rear quarterllght was broken and the jacket stolen (nothing in it btw). Another time, someone broke in and took the stereo – an unremarkable cassette radio player. And finally – and they were observed before scarpering – in a french supermarket car park, someone screwdrivered into the lock of my then beloved Audi 80, opened it but then they scarpered before they could make off with it.


So under British law, what types of offence fall under vehicle crime – the general category we use under this website?


Surprisingly few, as it turns out – just 5.


1. Aggravated vehicle taking
2. Theft from a motor vehicle
3. Theft from vehicle other than a motor vehicle
4. Theft of a motor vehicle
5. Interference with a motor vehicle


Anyway, here’s some good advise from Warwickshire Police on how to avoid becoming a victim of vehicle crime.


Launch of UKCrimeStats Forum

Posted: July 22nd, 2011  Author:   2 Comments »

Today we launch the UKCrimeStats Forum !




Each week, UkCrimeStats is reaching new records in popularity (visitors, impressions and emails) and from the very start we have wanted to embrace an open, social networked approach to an area of great public and policy concern – crime.  We don’t want to blow our trumpet too much – but we think we have the best designed and analytical crime website by far. But for all that, it’s definitely not enough for me to write a blog every couple of days and for our excellent Chief Data Architect, to update the data once a month and keep making the innovative improvements he always does.


We want to go 360 degrees and involve you.


What would you like to see?


What are your areas of concern?


With the forum, you can log in and engage with others.


There’s something else – our priority actually. We want you to find errors in the data and report them publicly to increase pressure to improve accuracy. I’m sorry to say, the data could be much better. And we now realise it would be far better to just to say – online –  here are the errors – what are you going to do about it?


So here’s one under the Metropolitan Police Force – a duplicate Edgware neighbourhood. This was brought to our attention by a visitor to our website 10 days ago.  We told the data provider but have heard nothing back and we don’t want our visitors to think we don’t care and are not doing anything about it.  So if you are with the Metropolitan Police Force and know about this, please feel free to chase this up, post an answer etc.


Please understand, this is not a bad data witch hunt. Far from it. We are not tryiing to lambast this or that Police Force or Rock Kitchen Harris – the data provider to 3rd parties like ourselves.  We want to work much more closely with them. It’s a huge dataset and it’s only normal that it’s not 100%. And we think it’s a truly great thing the data was released in the first place.  We just want to get it right.


We have to do this because data.gov.uk don’t seem to be taking it too serously – there is no specific crime data forum and the Home Office – bless them ! – want to set up some sort of quango to look at crime data.


Well we think with your help, we can move faster than that.  We will be posting up flawed data as often as we can and look forward to all your contributions.  I will monitor it but as little as possible. So please keep your contributions clean and responsible. And never forget, we’re all on the same side !


Burglary – what are the different burglary offence types?

Posted: July 21st, 2011  Author:   No Comments »

Once again, thanks to the NPIA for the data. After ASB incidents and Other crime, Burglary is the next most numerous category in our National Picture page – with 43,052 burglaries across England and Wales in May 2011. So what are the different offences?

Based on the Theft Act of 1968, here are the 9 different offences and the maximum sentence in years they carry;

1. burglary – indictable – 14
2. burglary – violence – 14
3. Burglary in a dwelling – either way – 14
4. artifice burglary in a dwelling – 14
5. Aggravated burglary in a dwelling – life
6. Burglary in a building other than a dwelling – indictable only – 10
7. Burglary in a building other than a dwelling – either way – 10
8. artifice burglary in a building other than a dwelling – 10
9. Aggravated burglary in  building other than a  dwelling – life





Exactly what falls under “Other” crime? Answer: 1,293 different offences !

Posted: July 18th, 2011  Author:   No Comments »

This is the second most populated category on our National Picture page with over 193,000 Other crimes for May 2011.


You may be staggered to find out though that under Other falls a voluminous 1,293 different types of offences.  I really couldn’t list them all here, in a blog post – but we will be posting them and all the others up on a spreadsheet shortly. But the Other range of offences is pretty massive. For example;


“Bigamy” – enough said


“Abstracting electricity” – actually I thought that in a modern country such as this, it is hard to do unlike say in some developing countries that take time to build a paying retail base for the utilities. It must be pretty small scale in Britain though, possibly mainly confined to squatters, but I may be wrong. This may change however with many of us energy watchers anticipating rising bills for some time to come.


Metal theft on the other hand – particularly copper – is today increasing electricity and internet/telephone stoppages because electricity needs to run through it.  So you may be interested to know that Melting down or breaking up metal coin without license is another Other crime.


“Keeping disorderly houses” – in relation to the 1751 Disorderly Houses Act. Can’t imagine this gets invoked too often.


“Theft or unuthorised taking of a pedal cycle” – an interesting turn of phrase that one. Perhaps somewhere in the distant past, a bike thief said “I wasn’t stealing it, just taking it in an unauthorised way“, so the offence description had to be changed?


Nonetheless, I’m pleased to see it there. I had thought that bicycle theft – a serious problem with  over 500,000 stolen a year according to research by Halfords did not have a separate category.


I’ve always understood the need to protect anonymity and ongoing legal proceedings but keeping 1,293 types of offences – some of them obviously serious and others seemingly trivial – under wraps strikes me as a bit excessive.  After all, if you had your bicycle stolen outside your place of work/high street/station etc. why would you not want other people to know about it?


Exactly what are ASB incidents?

Posted: July 14th, 2011  Author:   2 Comments »

A very special thanks to the National Policing Improvement Agency who have shared with us the underlying breakdown of Crimes and ASB incidents allocated to the six very broad categories we are given Crime and ASB data on. These are;


Burglary, Robbery,l Vehicle, Violent, Other and ASB.


Now we know the subcategories for each of these and we will be sharing these with you over the next few days.


Now back to the subject heading of this post. Users of this website will have noticed how ASB incidents – which are not crimes – actually in terms of numbers are the biggest category of them all – 243,790 incidents alone in England and Wales in May 2011.


But by itself, an ASB incident doesn’t really mean anything to the observer. It is a seemingly detached description and doesn’t feel real. Can you imagine getting interested or even excited about knowing an “ASB incident” happened in a specific area last month?


So here for the first time are the real breakdowns of what ASB incidents comprise and it’s quite an eye-opener;


1. Abandonded Vehicles (not Stolen or causing an Obstruction)
2. Animal problems
3. Begging / Vagrancy
4. Hoax calls to Emergency Services
5. Inappropriate Sale / Use / Possession of Fireworks
6. Malicious / Nuisance Communications
7. Noise
8. Prostitution Related Activity
9. Rowdy and / or Nuisance Behaviour: Environmental Damage / Littering
10. Rowdy and / or Nuisance Behaviour: Neighbours
11. Rowdy or Inconsiderate Behaviour
12. Street Drinking
13. Solvent Misuse
14. Trespass
15. Vehicle Nuisance / Inappropriate Use


So there’s quite a lot here that people could quickly understand and relate to.


And for the first time, I for one, have a better understanding of why ASB incidents figure so prominently across the country.