Boris' crime map plan comes unstuck
Victims' privacy at risk
Boris Johnson's manifesto pledge to provide detailed crime maps of London has hit problems with privacy regulators.
The London Mayor promised to introduce "New York-style crime maps which show the true crime levels in every neighbourhood". But the Information Commissioner's Office is worried about victims' privacy and possible data protection issues.
But Johnson is determined to overcome objections, the Times reports. He remains keen to introduce maps although they may have to be less specific than originally promised.
The Metropolitan Police already publishes maps of crimes not only by borough but also by individual ward.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has also promised to provide monthly crime maps for the whole country.
Various websites do offer crime statistics for New York and other US cities almost as they happen.
Information from such sites has famously been repurposed - if you can find out exactly where people are often arrested for selling drugs then you have a pretty good idea of which neighbourhoods to go to in order to buy them. ®
Seen it, done it
We spent several months developing such a system for one of the UK's forces. Crimes in this country are categorised by various home office classes and sub-classes so you could get a general impression of type of crime, e.g., Violent, Theft, Motor Vehicle, "Other" etc. for an area. Depending on the recording systems used, we had data down to the nearest meter, but that obviously depends on how well the crime is recorded in the first place.
We produced a system that you could drill down by crime type and by geographic area, viewing crimes, detections, sanctioned detections and so on. We also took it further to allow you to view officer "performance" - number of arrests, stop and searches, hours worked etc., etc. Basically a big old data-mining exercise all from a pretty intranet front-end.
There was certainly talk of putting that information online for the general public at some point - although the point of "Child abuse at numbers 3-7" was certainly looked at and we would either have simply not included that data or would not have allowed you to drill that far down into the crime groupings.
All forces are required to submit pretty detailed crime statistics - usually by ward and crime grouping and they often partner with local government for "safer streets" type activities.
If you want to know specific information, you could always file a FOI request. They love doing that sort of thing...
AI new Sustainable Development Scheme?
"Thanks for the links to the Met's crime maps, but basically they're only suitable for bean counters." By Paul Taylor, Posted Wednesday 25th June 2008 17:07 GMT
Operator error causes a well publicised glitch in the stats for one or more housing areas. House prices drop... the rest you can Imagine.
Another Quantum String to push / pull for Common dodgy bodgers and RobotIQs. Can also be used 4 Entanglement and Entrapment 2.
re child abuse/domestic violence
With such a system there should of course be things that are not reported on the site. These are things that do not affect the other residents of an area, Child Abuse (within the family) and Domestic Violence, whilst horrendous crimes do not directly affect those in the street, they are also things that require a certain level of descretion.
The people managing such a system would need two things, 1) a good set of guidlines, and 2) common sense and intelligence. However neither has been present in government or institutional (police, schools, councils) levels for at least two decades.
There is a distinct difference in other kinds of events, rapes, child abduction(I only mention that becouse it's a popular piece of hysteria - but an increadibly low occurance), murders, are often the acts of a single person and vary in their geographical preferences (some liking to only lurk in a small area they know well, other liking to roam a far.) Statistics on such events would be of little help to the common citizen beyond "please be careful as there is a serial rapist/peadophile/murderer active in this are."
Those are different to things like "gang" crime, burgluries, robberies, stabbings, alchol related incidents and drug related incidents, which tend to cluster around vulnerable areas and people.
But we do have to return to the previous points of competents of any current day public institution (or lack there of) to not only run such a system but to also respond correctly, appropriatly and in a useful manner to the information generated.
The responce in my area is to put signs up in areas of high crime... I personally would have thought a police presence and the creation of things to do besides throwing stones at buses and stealing cars would have been the thing to do. But no cardboard signs are apparently far more effective...