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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