Update: new crime data. Violent crime as a map layer, crime trends, and more

Just a month ago we released the first important update to Illustreets for 2014. Then, in a couple of weeks, with the latest Land Registry data becoming available, we updated the ‘Sold prices’ section and also released an interactive map showing the compound growth of house prices in England over the past 10 years. (Give this last one a go, and see how North England was leading the way before 2009.)

However, there was one particular dataset which we have been eagerly awaiting for: the recorded crime for December 2013. This was the last bit that we needed in order to have the complete, three-year set of recorded crime data for England.

Read on to see what we did with it.

1) We changed the crime rate denominator

First thing first: thanks to Office for National Statistics’ earlier release of workday statistics, we can now calculate the crime rates as the number of incidents recorded in a year, per 1000 at-risk population – that is, the local residents plus the workday population. As such, many city centres and areas with high workforce levels don’t show the astronomic rates which they used to (that was the case when we used only the number of local residents as denominator).

2) The crime layer on the map is now based only on violent crime rates

Perhaps not many of you know that – only on a desktop computer for now – Illustreets offers the possibility to switch between two main layers on its interactive map: standard of living, which is the default, and crime rate.

Whereas in the past the latter used to show the overall annual crime rate, now it is reserved exclusively for violent crime. Why? As we discovered from your feedback, this appears to be the type of crime with the highest impact on a neighbourhood’s liveability. Most of the other crime categories are still important, but not for being displayed on the map, as they create too much noise.

To see it in action, open the Illustreets interactive explorer, and then click on the crime gauge on the left-side panel:

Switch between standard of living and violent crime rate

When the ‘Standard of living’ gauge is active, the map looks like this:

View of London with the 'standard of living' map layer on

…whilst ‘Violent crime rate’ paints the map like this:

View of London with the 'violent crime rate' map layer on

As a side note, it is quite striking to see how closely these two patterns match. Keep that in mind when you hear the next political nonsense about crime reduction initiatives: it’s utter BS if it does not touch on tackling deprivation.

3) Crime and anti-social behaviour trends

Now that we have the complete dataset of recorded crime for the past three years, we can offer a much more interesting perspective: amongst other stats, we now also show the evolution of total crime rate and that of anti-social behaviour. Before you go and try it for yourself, here is a screenshot of how it looks like:

Local crime trends

Happy exploring!

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Manuel Timita

Co-Founder and Lead Designer at illustreets
Manuel is a UX designer, developer, mapping enthusiast, and part-time Open University student. He loves his girlfriend, England, most Asian and European cuisines, JavaScript, cats, French authors, alternative music, The Witcher, red wine, and The Matrix. Runs on coffee by the gallon and Garibaldi biscuits.

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