A site about how community groups and charities can make the most of data and open data to do something useful. Focused on Birmingham, relevant everywhere.

Police Crime Data for Improving the Perceptions of Safety in Communities


Birmingham Crime MapAt a recent Central Birmingham Social Media Surgery I met Maria Hughes from Birmingham LGBT. Birmingham LGBT work to support and sustain a vibrant, diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community in Birmigham.

Maria and I were discussing how open data could be best used for the LGBT Centre on Holloway Circus near Birmingham City Centre. We looked at a couple of things they were working on but then she mentioned how  perceptions of safety of the area could potentially put people off visiting the centre, particularly at night.

So with that in mind we turned to look at the Crime stats for the area.

Every police force in England Wales and Northern Ireland release crime figures for their policing areas which are then published and are available to download on www.police.uk. 

We started by searching by area, in this instance Birmingham, and then narrowed down to specifics from there. The police.uk maps let you customise the areas you want figures for by drawing around the area on the map. For this excersize we just looked at the month of December.

Customised Police Crime map

And you can then zoom in which then separates the crimes out further, Which means it’s little more exact about where incidents took place. And you can hover your mouse over the numbers to see a breakdown on what type of crime.Download Police Crime Data

There is also more detailed analysis available with graphs and charts to show crime trends over the year and what the outcome of the reports were etc. If you click on the image above  it will take you to the detailed page for the area we’ve highlighted and the image below shows just one type graph they produce.

Types of crime

If you download the data not only do you get an overview of the numbers and types of crimes, but even more detail of where the crime took place that could provide context of the area, as we we can presume crimes “in and on a Nightclub” are more likely to be related to the Nightclub and drinking, than to residents of the area.

We also used the map to highlight other areas of the city and compare crime figures side by side. For instance highlighting an area of a similar size around New Street Station showed 92 crimes for the same period of varying types.

By looking at crime data like this Maria is now able to talk to the centre users, and next time someone may suggest that they are wary of using the centre at night she can show them actual data of what the area is really like, compare it to other similar areas, but also give a little context to the crimes which have occurred. Which hopefully goes some way to improving the perceptions of safety in that area.

Created under the Open Government License

Created under the Open Government License




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