Friday, 15 August 2008

Lies, Damn Lies and Interactive crime mapping

James Graham helpfully points out the Met Police's new online toy - interactive crime mapping for the whole of London except the City.

A quick play has led me to the conclusion that I don't trust it an inch. There is the caveat that it seems only to be presenting information on robbery, burglary and vehicle crime from June this year. One might think that these are the sort of offences that people are most concerned about. But, given the extreme nature of some of the crime in London, I wonder how truthful a picture this is.

Take two places I lived whilst I was in London. We are talking about a time two years ago and another a year ago.

In one location you would be hugely fearful about going out at night. My fiance was threatened with rape on one occasion and with assault on another. I was the victim of an attempted mugging twice, we witnessed numerous violent incidents and we eventually left after somebody helpfully set fire to our house (at which point our landlord emigrated with our deposit and owing us various other monies - something else that is not recorded in these figures).

The Met Police's rating for this area (at both ward and sub-ward level) - Average.

After being burnt out, we moved to an area about three miles away but totally different in atmosphere. Here you felt safe (well, as safe as possible in London) walking the streets at night. There were plenty of people on the streets in the evenings making use of the bars, gastro-pub and eating places. During a year in this place none of us ever experienced anything worrying and we didn't see anything on the street.

You can guess where this is going. At both ward and sub-ward level this area was classed as High crime.

As with school league tables, I am sure that the information on these maps is true, I just don't think it presents an accurate picture.

1 comment:

Will said...

I haven't had a chance to look at my area on the map, but I think it's where you were a year ago - and I agree with your experience that this is not somewhere you fear walking the streets.