Archive for February 1st, 2011

February 1st, 2011

Is that it?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

So the new crime maps are out, if you can manage to get on the website. I don’t think the pre-launch planning took into account that a national launch, appearing on all the TV news & print papers & everywhere else, would possibly lead to lots of people wanting to take a look.

I don’t suppose most people could get anywhere near the site before it fell over for all the journalists checking it out to fill the 24-hour rolling news broadcasts I seem to have heard & seen all day.

The principle is simple, you go online, put in your postcode & you can find out how much crime there is in your area. Insurance companies must love it, they can instantly tell what kind of area you live in & whack up the premiums for everyone in a high crime area. They can also reduce the premiums for everyone in low crime areas. OK, I made that last bit up.

Except nothing is ever as simple as raw statistics suggest.

The system collects data from all the forces & presents it in a very unique way, incorrectly, or should that be misleadingly. For instance, if there are 12 dwellings or less in an area they won;t show crime figures in case you can work out which victim in that street got, er, victimised. So they might put the figures in a nearby street, but there mght be several other areas with less than 12 dwellings so their figures get lumped on that same other street. One inspector somewhere was explaining why one particular street was showing over 100 offences since December actually only had 5 because the rest of the figures came from other areas.

A street with a Primark on it & no houses might have 200 crimes, but these crimes are registered against a housing estate next door through which only Mother Theresa ever walks.

Talking heads on radio & TV have been saying that there is not an iota of research which suggests that this facility has or can reduce crime or increase public confidence in the police, presumably pretty high on the list for having the thing in the first place. It cost £300,000 to develop.

I tried to get on it several times today, I managed just prior to writing this piece & had a quick look around. It’s quite interesting, for about five minutes. I suspect I might visit it a couple of times over the next 2 days & then never visit again, much like  most of the 5million people an hour that have been trying to view it today., if it hasn’t crashed.