Faqs

Welcome to our FAQ section which we hope will answer most if not all of your questions. Please browse here and our Problems with the data section before getting in touch with any questions.

Data (4)

Do you have crime data in more detail and from an earlier time period?

No –  we get asked this a lot –  what you see is all we have. We usually advise people to contact Police Forces directly for this information.

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Do you use the crime outcomes data?

No, but we might in the future.

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How do you account for crimes with no location?

Crimes with no location are still given a crime category and are attached to a particular Police Force. So we include them under our National Picture page totals and under the Police Forces page. However, as there are no geo-coordinates, they are not matched to any postcodes, geospatial shapes like neighbourhoods, constituencies, LSOAs etc.

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What does your property price data not show?

According to the Land Registry, it does not include;

  • all commercial transactions. By this we mean any transaction that involves a transfer to a corporate body, company or business
  • sales that have not been lodged with Land Registry.
  • sales that were not for full market value. By this we mean, the sale of part of a property, a share of a property or the sale of a property at a discount. Examples include a repossession sale or a transfer between parties on divorce
  • transfers, conveyances, assignments or leases at a premium with nominal rent which are:
    • ‘Right to buy’ sales at a discount
    • subject to a lease
    • subject to an existing mortgage
    • buy to let (where they can be identified by a mortgage deed)
    • to effect the sale of a share in a property
    • by way of a gift
    • under a compulsory purchase order
    • under a court order
    • to Trustees appointed under Deed of appointment
  • Vesting Deeds Transmissions or Assents of more than one property
  • Leases for seven years or less
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General (25)

How do I export data and run reports?

You need a login and can purchase one here.

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Do you have crime data in more detail and from an earlier time period?

No –  we get asked this a lot –  what you see is all we have. We usually advise people to contact Police Forces directly for this information.

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Do you use the crime outcomes data?

No, but we might in the future.

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How do I cancel my subscription?

You can cancel any time from either within your paypal account under recurring payments. We update crime data and property prices every month usually in the first two weeks of every month, so please bear this in mind for when you want to cancel. If you are not able to do this then send us an email on crime@economicpolicycentre.com and we will sort it out for you. Also, please bear in mind that when you do cancel, your access automatically becomes cancelled – so please don’t unsubscribe until you are sure you don’t want access any more.

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How do you account for crimes with no location?

Crimes with no location are still given a crime category and are attached to a particular Police Force. So we include them under our National Picture page totals and under the Police Forces page. However, as there are no geo-coordinates, they are not matched to any postcodes, geospatial shapes like neighbourhoods, constituencies, LSOAs etc.

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How accurate is the crime data?

First of all, it’s important to understand we only work with recorded crime data released by the Home Office. The actual level of crime which is often secretive by nature is usually estimated by the British Crime Survey, to be approximately 30% or so higher. Not all crime is pepetrated against human victims (e.g. property damage) and recorded crime does rely on human reporting. So closing the gap fully between reported and actual crime is a somewhat intractable problem but long understood.

Secondly, we are bound by the categorisation given to us by the Home Office of approximately 1400 criminal offences into 14 categories, so you don’t get the most precise insight. For example, not all violent crime listed here as violent is actually violent in terms of involving physical harm. It could be something like “Endangering Railway Passengers” or “Harassment” for the “Breach of a restraining order”.

Secondly, to give you some idea of numbers;

As at April 2014, we have 18,557,233 total crimes and ASB incidents in the database. These cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland – an area of some 40 million acres (Scotland is approx 19 million acres and the UK is 59). The total number of anonymised snap-points stands at 1,060,320 locations. So what this means is that any crime/ASB incident potentially happened between 1 metre and up to 2,560 metres away. However, most of the UK population lives at high urban density – seen from space, it’s still mostly a very green and pleasant land. And there is anything but an even distribution of people to landmass and the anonymised snap-points reflect this – they are not evenly distributed from each other according to area. Police.uk say that if a crime happened more than 20 km away from the nearest snap-point, it is not given a location – but this is extremely rare. Dots are never placed over specific dwellings. Often, the Home Office has allocated locations to key locations, such as railway stations and each map point has a catchment area which contains at least eight postal addresses or no postal addresses at all.

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Where do you get your property price data from?

We obtain our property price data – price paid data – from the Land Registry. We update it once a month and it stretches back to January 1995.

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How do you calculate the percentile ranking of a postcode?

There are many more postcodes, 1.7 million than there are typically crimes and ASB incidents in a given month, around 400,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – and of course they are not all evenly distributed and the locations are not always so precise to protect the anonymity of victims and ongoing legal proceedings. So to get some close approximate idea, you have to widen the catchment area and increase the time capture. We have done this by matching postcodes to within Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOA) – 34,751 in England and Wales plus those 890 Super output areas in Northern Ireland (NISOA) – and cover the previous 24 months, not including the area in which it is located in order to create a 0 and a 100 ranking.

Basically, the rankings are generated by comparing the crime rate of a given LSOA or NISOA to the crime rate of all the other LSOAs and NISOAs.

Here is an example http://www.ukcrimestats.com/Postcode/sw1y5ed#Ranking for the postcode SW1Y 5ED. To make it easy to understand, we use a number that gives a rank and a score, so 100 equals the most crime within that area compared to the rest of the country and 0 equals the lowest. Notice the quite dramatic difference when you adjust for daytime population http://www.ukcrimestats.com/postcode.php?globalsearch=SW1Y5ED&use_daypop=1#Ranking – a unique feature of UKCrimeStats.

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How does the energy data work with postcodes?

We have matched postcode centroids in England and Wales to Lower Layer Super Output Areas energy data for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. We have then allotted a percentile ranking in the same way we do with crime. See here for an example;

http://www.future-es.com/postcode_search3.php?search=SW1Y5ED&year=2013

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What does your property price data not show?

According to the Land Registry, it does not include;

  • all commercial transactions. By this we mean any transaction that involves a transfer to a corporate body, company or business
  • sales that have not been lodged with Land Registry.
  • sales that were not for full market value. By this we mean, the sale of part of a property, a share of a property or the sale of a property at a discount. Examples include a repossession sale or a transfer between parties on divorce
  • transfers, conveyances, assignments or leases at a premium with nominal rent which are:
    • ‘Right to buy’ sales at a discount
    • subject to a lease
    • subject to an existing mortgage
    • buy to let (where they can be identified by a mortgage deed)
    • to effect the sale of a share in a property
    • by way of a gift
    • under a compulsory purchase order
    • under a court order
    • to Trustees appointed under Deed of appointment
  • Vesting Deeds Transmissions or Assents of more than one property
  • Leases for seven years or less
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What do the crime categories mean?

Total
Total for all categories including crime and ASB.
Anti-social behaviour (ASB)
Includes personal, environmental and nuisance anti-social behaviour. N.B. ASB is not a crime but a civil offence.
Bicycle theft
Includes the taking without consent or theft of a pedal cycle.
Burglary
Includes offences where a person enters a house or other building with the intention of stealing.
Criminal damage and arson
Includes damage to buildings and vehicles and deliberate damage by fire.
Drugs
Includes offences related to possession, supply and production.
Other crime
Includes forgery, perjury and other miscellaneous crime.
Other theft
Includes theft by an employee, blackmail and making off without payment.
Possession of weapons
Includes possession of a weapon, such as a firearm or knife.
Public disorder and weapons
Includes offences which cause fear, alarm, distress or a possession of a weapon such as a firearm.
Public order
Includes offences which cause fear, alarm or distress.
Robbery
Includes offences where a person uses force or threat of force to steal.
Shoplifting
Includes theft from shops or stalls.
Theft from the person
Includes crimes that involve theft directly from the victim (including handbag, wallet, cash, mobile phones) but without the use or threat of physical force.
Vehicle crime
Includes theft from or of a vehicle or interference with a vehicle.
Violence and sexual offences
Includes offences against the person such as common assaults, Grievous Bodily Harm and sexual offences.

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Are postcodes a good way of looking at crime data?

Yes and no. There are 1.7 million postcodes and we have all of them but they each have a very small surface area relative the number of crimes and the accuracy of the actual crime location. That’s because each crime is located  anywhere between 1 metre or much further away as part of the anonymisation process (see FAQ – How accurate is the crime data?). To get some idea of relative crime and crime rate, it’s much better to use the coordinates of postcode centroids and match them to the inside of the relevant Lower Layer Super Output Area (of which there are 35,000) or the nearest postcode sector (of which there are about 8,500). We also have Workplace zones of which there 55,000. To get a better idea still, it’s important to take into account the difference between daytime and residential population too.

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Where does the data come from and how often is this website updated with it?

Right now, the publicly available monthly crime data is published by www.police.uk once a month here http://www.police.uk/data. So we update our website with that data once a month, after it has been cleaned for errors, typos etc. – of which there are still too many. On achieving a clean dataset, we aim to add the data to our database for www.ukcrimestats.com within 1 week of it being published for you to see and usually less than that.

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What exactly does “Crime Rate” mean and how do you calculate it?

For the purposes of this site and the official UK Crime Rate (CR) statistic, CR is best understood in totality as “Crimes per 1,000 resident people as per the latest official Census over a selected time period”. For population, depending on the shape, we use census data from 2011 and updated annual estimates thereafter when they are available – 2013 and 2015 for LSOAs and MSOAs.

For example, in August 2015, the constituency of the Cities of London and Westminster Constituency had a total of 4,537 crimes and ASB incidents and had a residential population of 114,475 (mid-2013 estimate). To calculate the crime rate (which in this case include ASB incidents which we know are not crimes), divide the population by 1000 to get 114.475 and then divide the number of crimes, 4,537 by 114.475. This ends in a crime rate of 39.63 registered crimes per 1,000 residents.

It would be different of course if you used the daytime population, 946,397 and again, if you only wanted to calculate the crime rate for a particular type of crime and again if you wanted to include a longer time period. These are all features available with a login to UKCrimeStats.

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What happens when you have a violent burglary – is that 1 or 2 separate crimes on your database?

Good question. There are 5 different types of crime listed and one ASB category and some of them can overlap. We now have it on good authority that there is an order of hierarchy according to the length of sentence per crime committed. So in this example, if the burglary involved homicide, then this would be registered as a violent crime, not a burglary. But if there was a relatively small and ineffectual violent blow landed by the pepetrator on the victim but a great deal of valuable items were burgled, then it is registered as a burglary. So a combination of different offences are recorded as one crime according to the hierarchy of potential sentencing length.

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How is it decided where the crimes & ASB incidents are located?

I have lifted this directly from www.police.uk as we use exactly the same data.

Anonymisation Methodology
A key challenge for the www.police.uk website and API is striking a balance between being open and transparent about crime, and our obligations to protect the identity and privacy of individual victims.

For this reason, the icons you see on the Crime Maps page always represent the approximate location of a crime – not the exact place that it happened. Anonymising crime location is one of the steps we have taken to help protect the privacy of victims, based on consultation with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

How are crime locations anonymised?

We maintain a master list of over 750,000 ‘anonymous’ map points. Each map point is specifically chosen so that it:

Appears over the centre point of a street, above a public place such as a Park or Airport, or above a commercial premise like a Shopping Centre or Nightclub.
Has a catchment area which contains eight or more postal addresses (or no postal addresses at all).
When crime data is provided by police forces, the exact location of each crime is compared against the master list to find the nearest map point. The co-ordinates of the actual crime are then replaced with the co-ordinates of the map point.

No other filtering or rules are applied, and the original location information is deleted. This process ensures that we can provide crime information that is accurate, transparent and locally relevant, whilst maintaining the anonymity of victims.

How was the master list of map points created?

In summary, the process used to creating the master list was as follows:

The centre point of every road in England and Wales was taken from the Ordnance Survey Locator dataset.
This was augmented with locally relevant ‘points of interest’ from the Landmark Points of Interest dataset.
Subsequently, each map point was analysed to see how many postal addresses were contained in its ‘catchment area’ (according to the Ordnance Survey Address-Point dataset). Any with between 1 and 7 postal addresses were discarded to protect privacy.
The remaining points were provided to police forces for a human assessment. A small number of additions and deletions were made based on their feedback to make the map points more locally relevant.

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What about Scotland and Northern Ireland?

We have Northern Ireland data – see this page  and here for Northern Ireland Super Output Areas  (login required). You will also find Northern Ireland postcode, postcode sector and postcode district data and neighbourhoods – see here for example. For Scotland, we only have Scottish Datazones but have matched all Scottish postcodes to inside of them. Scottish data is not monthly but 2005-06 and 2011-12.

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How do you select the most crime-prone streets in England and Wales?

We do not hold a database of all the streets in England and Wales and in the first 3 months of data, most streets have had no crime at all. However, at least 321,000 streets had 1 or more crimes. So we have to create a manageable cut-off. Each month we take the 1,000 streets (on or near) which have had the highest total number of crimes. These are the streets we then extract to our database for measuring type of crime by street over a selected time period.

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I’m a Policeman and don’t you realise that you can be a good Police Officer/Police Force in a high crime area or an ineffective one in a low crime one?

Yes of course. Correlation is not causation. There is no unicausal relationship between the level and quality of policing and the level of crime. But people still want to know what crime is like in their area or within a Police Force relative to another because their overriding concern is relative risk.

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I live in the same road as a police stations/police headquarters/police call centres – will that inflate registered crime to my street?

Yes – if that Police Station is having a lot of crimes mapped to the Police Station because their location is unknown or otherwise. We think that’s a problem. We are seeking clarification on the precise coordinates of all the Police stations/hqs and call centres so that we can account for that. We also want to know how many of the crimes (and where and when and what kind) are registered in this way. South Wales Police for example don’t list any coordinates from the api for their Police Stations.

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The Economic Policy Centre is an economics think tank – why are you doing this?

At it’s heart, crime is an economic and social problem, costing the economy a huge amount of money and causing a great deal of misery. But solving and arguably more importantly preventing crime is a 100% information driven solution. We hope that this website is able to play some small role in that by giving the country accurate and impartial information about crime.

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What is a Crime ID number, how is it assigned and can I search on it?

We have assigned each individual crime since the start of the database in December 2010 an individual number. So as crimes in England and Wales are growing by 500,000 a month, after the first 3 months, we have 1.5 million crime id numbers on our database. You can also search for them by number in the search box, 1-1,500,000 plus. Each crime has it’s own page, limited description, position on the map and url address so you can refer incoming links to it.

N.B. Please note, these Crime ID numbers are not the same as the official police crime id numbers.

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Who interprets this data?

We don’t interpret the data per se, we order it into an easily digestible format and the public, academics, policymakers, press etc. are free to draw their own conclusions. Without going into detail, it really was a challenge trying to work out what we could and couldn’t ask of the data. If you have some ideas for new questions that you’d like it to answer, please feel free to share them with us on crime@economicpolicycentre.com. We can’t pay you, but we are more than happy to credit you with your idea if you want that and we are able to bring it to fruition.

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How is it decided where the crimes & ASB incidents are located?

I have lifted this directly from www.police.uk as we use the same data.

Anonymisation Methodology
A key challenge for the www.police.uk website and API is striking a balance between being open and transparent about crime, and our obligations to protect the identity and privacy of individual victims.

For this reason, the icons you see on the Crime Maps page always represent the approximate location of a crime – not the exact place that it happened. Anonymising crime location is one of the steps we have taken to help protect the privacy of victims, based on consultation with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

How are crime locations anonymised?

We maintain a master list of over 750,000 ‘anonymous’ map points. Each map point is specifically chosen so that it:

Appears over the centre point of a street, above a public place such as a Park or Airport, or above a commercial premise like a Shopping Centre or Nightclub.
Has a catchment area which contains eight or more postal addresses (or no postal addresses at all). 
When crime data is provided by police forces, the exact location of each crime is compared against the master list to find the nearest map point. The co-ordinates of the actual crime are then replaced with the co-ordinates of the map point.

No other filtering or rules are applied, and the original location information is deleted. This process ensures that we can provide crime information that is accurate, transparent and locally relevant, whilst maintaining the anonymity of victims.

How was the master list of map points created?

In summary, the process used to creating the master list was as follows:

The centre point of every road in England and Wales was taken from the Ordnance Survey Locator dataset.
This was augmented with locally relevant ‘points of interest’ from the Landmark Points of Interest dataset.
Subsequently, each map point was analysed to see how many postal addresses were contained in its ‘catchment area’ (according to the Ordnance Survey Address-Point dataset). Any with between 1 and 7 postal addresses were discarded to protect privacy.
The remaining points were provided to police forces for a human assessment. A small number of additions and deletions were made based on their feedback to make the map points more locally relevant.

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Where does the data come from and how often is this website updated with it?

Right now, the publicly available monthly crime data is published by www.police.uk once a month here http://www.police.uk/data. So we update our website with that data once a month, after it has been cleaned for errors, typos etc. – of which there are still too many. On achieving a clean dataset, we aim to add the data to our database for www.ukcrimestats.com within 1 week of it being published for you to see and usually less than that.

All our historical data is stored here and this is what we display http://www.ukcrimestats.com/Disclaimer/ – we are not responsible for historical data changed on police.uk.

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Membership (2)

How do I cancel my subscription?

You can cancel any time from either within your paypal account under recurring payments. We update crime data and property prices every month usually in the first two weeks of every month, so please bear this in mind for when you want to cancel. If you are not able to do this then send us an email on crime@economicpolicycentre.com and we will sort it out for you. Also, please bear in mind that when you do cancel, your access automatically becomes cancelled – so please don’t unsubscribe until you are sure you don’t want access any more.

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I want to resubscribe as a member but can’t

Just use a different email or if you don’t have another one, ust email us on crime@economicpolicycentre.com and we will delete your old account on the system so you can resubscribe.

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Property (1)

Why is the total value of sales / property transactions rounded to the nearest £1000?

This is a computational limitation issue and we didn’t want to slow down the website. We are confident that it is not significant. So for example, in the whole of London for November 2015, the total value of all sales we are showing is £5,359,840,000. However, if you total up all the sales individually (and we list all of the prices without roundings), it comes to  £5,359,840,285. So just £285 difference out of £5.3 billion in sales.

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