UKCrimeStats updated with July data and Police Station upgrades

Posted: August 30th, 2011  Author:   No Comments »

A special thanks again to our Chief Data Architect for working over the Bank Holiday weekend to get the latest batch of crime data uploaded.  Police.uk released the data on Friday 26th August in the morning and it has been live on this site since yesterday morning. Like all the other 3rd party developers, we never know when it’s going to be released and it’s actually a very difficult, time-consuming process  – so we are most grateful.

We also have a new upgrade to report (and always plenty more in the works);

Police Stations

From this link, you will see that where we have complete data from the API, you can see how many Police Stations each Force has, click on the relevant Police Force, and see where their Police Stations are on a map.  As you will see, for a number of Police Forces this data is incomplete and so we are unable to show where any Police Stations are for Wiltshire Police for example.  We need full address and long/lat details to show Police Station locations and much of this data needs cleaning up.  So if you are a Policeman/woman and know that we are missing Police Stations that you work in, please chase this up within your own Force’s IT department and ask them to check;

i) What is uploaded to Crimemapper – i.e. how many Police Stations you have

ii) What is uploaded to the Police.uk api – i.e. are all the relevant details in the correct fields there?

After the riots . . . keeping track of the figures

Posted: August 24th, 2011  Author:   No Comments »

My impression is that in contrast to the early Police anti-riot operations – with all the caveats mentioned in the preceeding post – the number of arrests, charges, sentencing by the courts etc. – is going very well. As a deterrent to future flash-mob riots, it doesn’t get much better than this.   A friend of mine who is a magistrate tells me there is a huge team of people in the Police – about 500 –  sifting through photos and video.

 

According to this press association article from yesterday;

 

The Met released the latest riots crime figures today, showing there has been a total of 1,920 arrests (1,508 adults and 412 juveniles). So far 1,098 people have been charged (864 adults, 234 juveniles).

 

Another source, this wiki has a pretty good roundup and cites 3,100 arrests nationwide as at August 15th.

 

There’s something else here – an indirect benefit from something so awful. Though civil rights / Big Brother types would be concerned, in the future there will be vast amounts of new data about potential criminals for the Police to crunch that will make crime-fighting much easier in the years to come.

 

 

6 observations on the riots etc.

Posted: August 14th, 2011  Author:   No Comments »

It’s always the way. You go away for a week and then something big pops up. In this case, the largest riots in 25 years which hit the UK out of nowhere.  UKCrimeStats received a record increase in traffic again – the public want to know what’s going on around them but we don’t have this data yet. We will have the August data (which will include these riots) uploaded a few days after it is released – which is usually late in the following month, September. I’m curious to see how the  constituency crime heat maps tally with the known trouble areas, how the known neigbhourhoods figures change  and if we see a consequent spike in registered Robberies – assuming these fall under Robbery. Arson would fall under Other.

So here are my thoughts;

1. Sir Hugh Orde – can’t take any criticism. Nor did he – or any other senior officers – say much to defend the officers on the front line for the first few days, when they needed it most.  My cynical political antennae tells me this was because they were jockeying for position to take over the Met, I hope I’m wrong. What really upset him is David Cameron appearing to be less than satisfied – so he has attacked the PM 3 times in 3 days.

2. Facts and Time. How does a police bullet get stuck in a police radio and how long does it take to establish whether a known suspect fired a shot at you or not? There may be a good reason for all of this but it’s taking ages to find out. It may be time to consider automatic filming from mini digital cams for armed officers.

3. The argument for Bill Bratton is starting to look overwhelming. I’ve got great respect for those officers on the streets and everything they’ve done in such trying circumstances.  You can’t help but be moved by the anonymous blog of Inspector Winter. For all that, there’s no way one can look back and say this was all an overwhelming success for the forces of law and order.  In some cases, Officers do seem to have stood back until they could have overwhelming force on their side.  I don’t envy the danger their jobs place them in, but has the balance of risk-taking to risk aversion slipped too far?

It’s perhaps to early to say, bu to my mind thus far, the management of these events have been a failure of strategic leadership from the top, not commitment from the bottom. A fresh pair of eyes with no vested interest in the status quo would do the Met the power of good. And Bratton would have been communicating strongly from Day 1 as well as defending his Officers.

4. Mobiles and social networking are the crimefighters friend. Yes, blackberry messenger, twitter and facebook had a hand in bringing rioters together, quickly. But they have left easy to follow up traces all over the internet and on the servers of mobile phone operators.  A safe bet too that facial recognition software is not far behind as most people have photos of themselves on the internet somewhere now, particularly on social networking sites.  So social networking actually makes riots like these impossible to get away with on a repeat basis.  There do seem already to have been a lot of arrests.

5. The riots are nothing to do with the cuts – a preposterous argument.

6. Vigilantism is not the same as protecting your property – I’m a bit dismayed by some responses to local groups like the Sikh community in Southend who self-organised to get a few bodies together to show a presence and shield their shops when the Police can’t get there in time.  What’s wrong with that?

Vigilantism is only vigilantism when extra-legal punishment is meted out to alleged criminals and that is clearly wrong.

Crime in Tottenham – what does the data say?

Posted: August 7th, 2011  Author:   No Comments »

I’ve just run a quick search on UKCrimeStats and thought I’d post up these links in light of the distressing events from last night in Tottenham not least 49 fires started by rioters.

 

Here is a link to crime in the Tottenham Constituency, of which David Lammy is MP and is in the worst 5% for violent crimes between December 2010 and June 2011 (25 out of 573).

 

In June 2011, the neighbourhoods Tottenham Green (123 out of 156) and Tottenham Hale (103 out of 142) compare quite well with other neighbourhoods within 5 miles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For detailed neighbourhood analysis choose UKCrimeStats over Police.uk

Posted: August 5th, 2011  Author:   No Comments »

I was just reading this article which was unusual because it was a detailed monthly update on crime in a specific neighbourhood – Thame.  Thame falls under the jurisdiction of Thames Valley Police. I’m sure in the years to come we will see many more of these online reports of what’s going on and this is much to be welcomed – so well done Thame Neighbourhood Policing Team.

 

Anyway, right at the end, it said log on to police.uk but it didn’t say log on to UKCrimeStats !

 

Well here are some good reasons why you should log on to UKCrimeStats as well.

 

And by way of comparative example, here’s police.uk’s page for Thame and here is ours from UKCrimeStats.

 

1. UKCrimeStats displays the population of Thame – 11,072

 

2. UKCrimeStats shows the Neighbourhood Crime League table (within 5 miles) adjusted for population (as crime rate) and displaying the different totals for each type and ASB. This means we can show a ranking or you can sort by different types using the online pivot table.

 

3. UKCrimeStats has easy to understand charts and pie charts tracking monthly data per neighbourhood since December 2010 (because not everyone likes numbers and some much prefer pictures)

 

4. UKCrimeStats has a table with monthly totals for each crime and ASB type – you do not have to change page to see all of them

 

5. On UKCrimeStats, if you click on a crime/ASB pin you can not only give information to the local Neighbourhood Team, you can pass on information to Crimestoppers or tweet it because each crime/ASB event has a unique url, like this one here.

 

6. When you click on that unique url – in this case a vehicle crime, you will also see a table listing all the vehicle crimes since December 2010 within 5 miles of that specific location. Not all crime is local, criminals certainly don’t respect administrative borders but fear of crime is local and people want to get an idea of risk in their area. Saying a given neighbourhood across England and Wales falls under average, as Police.uk does, isn’t really that useful.

 

7. And last but not least, you can advertise by Neighbourhood so that your ads appear when anyone selects a specific neighbourhood, a crime page in that area or a postcode within it. Read all about how to do it here – really very easy and inexpensive, much cheaper than local newspapers.  And get registered here – we also offer 50% discounts for Appeals for information from the victims of crime – from £12.50 per month.

 

There are other reasons too – we are independent for a start of both the Home Office and the Police. Some of you have asked why we don’t show the photos of the Officers – well that’s because for reasons known only to the Home Office and Police.uk, they have not been made available to 3rd Party developers such as ourselves. To be honest though, I’m not sure how much we want them, there’s lots of other useful data we’d rather have first. But if you want to look up a Policeman/woman by name, you can do that in the search box too.  And you can’t do that on Police.uk either !

The case for releasing investigation and clear-up data . . .

Posted: August 2nd, 2011  Author:   1 Comment »

Last Saturday’s headline in The Times “Police admit one in three crimes not investigated – Forces give up on burglars and car thieves” got me thinking. I don’t disagree  that the Police find that screening out a large number of registered crimes allows them to focus more resources where they have greater chance of success.  The scale of it though is suprising – a third. And I do wonder how much that initial investigation threshold varies across the country, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, force by force. I suspect that right now this is a subjective and highly localised decision. If we had that data – which crimes, down to street level, were investigated or not – UKCrimeStats could keep tabs on it.  The question I’d like to pose here though is  – should victims of crime be told if their crime was not going to be investigated?

 

I don’t see why not.  In many cases it could create additional incentives for potential victims to – where possible – take preventative action and to proffer more actionable  information after the offence was committted. It would also increase pressure on Officers and more importantly, Politicians, to see through bureaucracy and  efficiency gains that would release more resource to follow up investigations. Investigation rates and for which types of crime would signal clearly the current distribution of Police resources across the country relative to the crime.

 

Then we start running into the issue of what constitutes a proper level of investigation?

 

Here again, there must be a massive difference between investigating a series of bicycle thefts and a murder enquiry. And victims and investigating Police Officers are bound to disagree.

 

That leaves us with clear-up data. Many thanks to Witness Confident for sharing this information with me. For an offence to be technically cleared up according to Home Office rules, the following has to happen;

 

i) a suspect needs to have been identified to the police

ii) the police need to have told the suspect that they hold him or her responsible

iii) the police need to impose a sanction on the suspect

 

Again, all of this we could keep tabs on were the data to be released. Crime data has 3 core components – about the crime, the victim and the criminal. To date, all we have been privy to is very limited data about the crime. Releasing data about whether it was investigated or not and the progress through the 3 different stages of the clear-up would be a huge advance.