New online crime map of England exposes black spots
The government on Tuesday launched a new crime mapping website for England and Wales, giving residents information on offences in their neighbourhood and exposing areas where crime has brought misery.
The www.police.uk website, which was such a hit it crashed under the weight of users, is intended to give people the data needed to hold the local constabulary to account and let people track how crime is being tackled in their area.
The data covers the previous month, giving the approximate location of incidents reported to the police.
The site revealed that the most crime-ridden neighbourhood last month centred on Glovers Court in Preston, northwest England.
It saw 44 violent crimes, 73 instances of anti-social behaviour, one robbery, a burglary and 33 other crimes.
The site crashed in its first few hours online after 75,000 attempts to access it per minute.
The information is broken down into six categories: burglary, robbery, violence, vehicle crime, anti-social behaviour and other crime, which includes sex offences and shoplifting to help prevent victim identification.
Policing Minister Nick Herbert said it was the first time that information in this detail had been provided on a country-wide scale.
Home Secretary Theresa May dismissed fears that it would send house prices plummeting in some areas of property-obsessed Britain.
"This is giving people a real tool, real power to see that something is being done about crime in their area," the interior minister said.
"This doesn't make them frightened, it actually makes them feel a part of what is happening. This will give them the real facts and figures."
"We can't sweep crime under the carpet. We have to tell the truth about crime... and give the information and the power to the public.
"It's going to be a transformation in the public's ability to hold the police to account and drive action against crime and anti-social behaviour."
Crime trends will be established as the site develops, and it could include details on the outcomes of court cases.
© 2011 AFP