UK crime mapping

In the last fifteen years, crime mapping has become one of the most appropriate tools in solving crimes. This tool is used by crime analysts to explore, examine and envision crime patterns and produce a geographical representation of crime levels. In this way, crime types, hot spots or locations of particular incidents are identified. In fact, even if crime-mapping in the UK is relatively new, all 43 police forces across England and Wales are now offering online, interactive and colour-coded crime maps showing offences broken down by area. The main crime mapping service in the UK is, but various local initiatives and pilots are underway since its launch in 2011. Information on crime is split into six categories – burglary, robbery, vehicle crime, violence, other crime and anti-social behaviour.

Crime mapping is firstly useful to the police. While crime analysis once focused only on the victim and the offender, today, crime mapping also considers the location of the crime and other significant locations revolving around the concerned individuals. In other words, crime mapping investigates which areas, both the criminal and his target usually frequent, in terms of dwelling, work or leisure. In addition, since studies show that most criminals tend to commit crimes within their comfort zone, crime mapping actually helps in detecting that particular zone. Law Enforcement Management can even use the analysis to make better decisions, target resources, and formulate strategies including crime forecasting and geographic profiling. So, it makes predictive policing possible, such that the available data aids in foreseeing future crimes- by understanding the ‘When and Where’ these incidents take place. Besides, it is a relatively cost effective approach. For instance, the police no longer have to deploy a large team at a specific location round the clock, but can focus on a specific time, according to ‘when’ crimes tend to occur. Hence, predictive policing leads to ‘preventive policing’. As a result, the improved police force ensures a more responsive approach to criminality.

On the other hand, crime mapping can be equally convenient to citizens who simply have to put their postcode into their local police’s website. Crime-maps can give British a readily accessible means of understanding patterns of crime, such as incarceration or recidivism, in their area. It can thus help them to make informed judgements pertinent to their safety and well-being. Furthermore, people being empowered with such kind of information can in turn engage with their local policing team, and feel somewhat connected with them, which irrefutably lead to more effective law enforcement and a safer community. Mug shots of convicted criminals are also available on websites, along with a short summary of their crime and sentence, which can be educative to civilians. All in all, crime mapping ensures that all individuals are aware of crime volume, trends and comparisons, and that they can indirectly participate in policing, too, as it is now a community-focused perspective.

Last year, the updated website allowed comparison of crime levels in certain neighbourhoods with other areas in England and Wales with the Compare Your Area option. The saturated website which once crashed has been allegedly solved. Constant improvement is being made towards this new tool, with the aim of facilitating the public further. For instance, a free application is now available- for iPad/iPhone users- that shows where crime and anti-social behaviour are occurring. Street Level Crime Maps or its alternative, Crime Search, give instant access to data, details of the local policing team and crime prevention meetings through a simple search box.

Information and protection are available at the click of a button thanks to crime mapping. It is indeed the key to tackling local offences, and hence on a larger scale, help reduce crime for a safer nation. However, it is similarly important to not rely solely on this tool for security. Unfortunately, after all, glitches on the crime mapping websites do not come forewarned, while the maps could conversely be informative to cunning criminals as well.

If you have concerns about the security of your home or business in your area, please browse the RSG Security Products Range and contact us on 0208 123 1088.