Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Crime Maps

Ever wondered what goes on in your street?
With new sharing of information you could be appraised of every crime that occurs. A google map could soon be available to residents mapping out every offence that takes place in the area you live.
Critics are already predicting these statistics could be used by criminals to target vulnerable area and by insurance companies to put premiums up. There is a link here to the article in today's Telegraph.
Four Police Force areas are publishing similar information on line now including North Yorkshire and West Midlands. The consensus in some circles is, that unless these statistics are being used to make the Police accountable to the public, they are of little value.
Perhaps in conjunction with PACT (Police and Communities Together - where priorities are set by the public) these statistics could be invaluable, as at present - there can be an issue with the way PACT is administered, because the areas with the strongest resident participation are setting all the priorities, and sometimes this means that a homogenised view of crime or antisocial behaviour leads to the less serious aspects of nuisance being tackled rather than the grass root causes. For example if a local park have a strong committee, a priority may be set to move Youths on if they are drinking in the parks in the evening. This leads to another area without the strength of participation having the problem moved into their area.
PACT needs to be developed, so it outreaches into the general population, and there needs to be a much wider net cast to catch feedback from all groups in the communities, especially the historically harder to reach groups.

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