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Updated police map puts Somerset crime in context

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: October 15, 2012

CRIME MAP

From today www.police.uk enables users to compare crime levels in different areas - picture police.uk/Google Maps

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People in Somerset can now compare crime levels in their neighbourhood with other areas and see how recorded crime rates have changed over the past three years, thanks to a newly-expanded crime-mapping website.

Originally launched by the Home Office in February 2011, www.police.uk maps instances of offences such as robbery, burglary and violent crime, as well as anti-social behaviour (ASB).

The interactive mapping site allows users to browse crime and anti-social behaviour data on a street-by-street basis.

From today, the newly-expanded site also includes a tool which allows visitors to compare crime levels for a certain borough or district.

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The site compares crime in users’ local areas with crime in other similar areas – that is, those with similar demographic, economic and social characteristics.

It shows the total number of crimes over a twelve month period per thousand residents, for the crime type the user selects.

In the year ending March 31, 2012, the crime rate in Somerset was higher than the average crime rate across similar areas, the website shows.

Taking into account ‘all crime’, the crime rate was 59.08 (59.08 crimes per 1,000 residents), compared to 56.26 in East Staffordshire, 53.95 in Ashford and 53.01 in Herefordshire.

However, the crime rate in Somerset was lower than average for the Avon & Somerset force area.

Additionally, in the quarter ending March 31, 2012, crime rates were down in Somerset and in the Avon & Somerset force area compared with the corresponding quarter in 2011.

In March this year the crime rate in Somerset stood at 12.82, down from 13.49 the same month in 2011.

The figures are displayed in a chart showing the quarterly crimes per thousand residents over a three year period. The chart enables users to see how recorded crime rates have changed since 2009.

Today’s updates come a month before voters elect the first police and crime commissioners (PCCs).

PCCs will aim to cut crime and deliver an effective police service within the force area. They will do this by holding the chief constable to account for the delivery of the force; setting and updating a police and crime plan and setting the force budget and precept.

Learn how to use the site with our handy guide.

What can the website show me?

The website details:

- What crimes have occurred and where: Users can browse data on a street-by-street basis. However, to ensure the privacy of affected individuals is protected, dots are never placed over specific dwellings.

Streets with fewer than eight postal addresses have been excluded, and incidents are grouped into eleven separate categories to ensure more sensitive crimes are not identifiable.

- How your local police force is performing

- What happens after a crime has occurred: For example, whether crimes are ‘under investigation’, ‘suspect charged’, ‘defendant sent to Crown Court’, ‘offender sent to prison’ etc.

This relates to outcomes reached in August 2012 for crimes recorded between January 2012 and August 2012.

How do I use the newly-updated site?

- Go to www.police.uk

- Type in your postcode, town or street name

- Click the map on the right-hand-side of the page, under the header ‘Crime and outcomes in this area’

- To view the outcomes of these crimes, click ‘Outcomes’ on the left-hand-side of the page under ‘Activity in this area in’. You can amend the date, although outcome data is only available from January 2012 onwards.

- To: compare the recorded crime rate in Somerset with other areas; see how crime in Somerset compares with crime in the Avon & Somerset force area and see how crime has changed over time in Somerset and in the Avon & Somerset force area, scroll down below the map until you see a link ‘Compare crime levels in your local area with other similar areas'

To better understand how to use the Compare Your Area aspect of the site, read the user guide.

How will the site be expanded in the future?

Soon the website will also:

- allow people to look at crime levels in smaller areas, including villages and estates, and compare them with others

- feature mugshots of convicted criminals from the end of October, BBC News reports.

Teams behind the site are also testing local initiatives to see how they can drive transparency nationally. For example, Avon and Somerset has developed TrackMyCrime - a case-tracking system for victims.

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