We have just rolled out a new capability to UKCrimeStats – a unique page with monthly history for every street (see our streets page here) that has had a crime on it. Here is London’s Oxford Street – scene of a terrible gang murder right in the middle of the Boxing Day.
As you’ll see from our National Picture page, thus far we have approximately 6 million crimes and ASB events spanning 12 months of data. Each of these are mapped to around 450,000 “snap points” which are the given latitudes and longitudes of on or near a street close to where the event actually took place by the authorities to protect victims’ anonymity and ongoing legal/investigative proceedings.
Population is nearly everything in crime – read this academic paper An Excursus on the Population Size-Crime Relationship. After all, with no people, there is no crime. The trouble is how to allow for the impact of population on measuring crime. One solution is the crime rate which measures crime per static 1,000 residents in a selected area. The limitation of measuring crime by crime rates is both criminals and victims like to move and resident population data is only as good as your last census.
What we don’t know is the actual mobile throughput of population in a given area which would give us a much closer understanding. That’s why Oxford Street stands out as such an interesting example. Despite it’s size and high and mobile population, it has only one snap point and so quite a lot of recorded crime. And just like for all our streets, we have no static resident population data – meaning that a very long road with many residents can’t be compared with a short one with a few village houses. We can nonetheless assume that very few people live on or around Oxford Street as residents compared to the number of visiting shoppers.
It’s a safe bet though that Oxford Street – the nation’s premier High Street, has a phenomenal throughput of bargain and style-seeking consumers which means that if you were able to deflate crime in Oxford Street for the number of people going through it, the level of crime would actually be much, much lower that it would appear – currently no. 8 for November of streets in England and Wales.