Crimes in your street mapped online
This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.
The internet has revolutionised many areas of our lives but the most significant have changed the way we live in our homes – such as cruising your neighbourhood from your armchair on Google’s StreetView; doing the shopping ‘virtually’ from your kitchen table; and finding out ‘how much is my home worth?’ online.
But a new service that began this morning will add to this by changing how we choose where to live and how crime is reported.
Go to the police.uk site, which is provided by an umbrella organisations of government agencies including the police, and you can see how many crimes have been committed on your street, who your local officers are where you local station is plus a variety of help, advice and information about crime in your local area.
Anyone buying a home or researching local areas to move to can clearly see where the most crime is taking place on a town or city – rather than street – level, as illustrated by these results from the service for south London.
The website does not come without its faults and controversy, nevertheless. Apart from a rather amusing if not frightening video section that loads YouTube videos of crime committed (street muggings caught on CCTV and other alarming events), the site lacks comparative tools – so for example in my area, are the reported 99 violent crimes in one month high in London – or just average? Also, it appears to show only data from the month before. A wide, year on year view would have been more useful.
But despite these niggles, the service is a giant step forward in local policing and is basically a more sophisticated, online version of the Neighbourhood Watch schemes, the first of the which was set up in 1982. Although NW schemes are different in form, both services aim to achieve the same thing – communities that are more involved in tackling local crime.
One questions remains, though, that has set up a reasonable media storm today. What about house prices? FindaProperty thinks having such transparent crime statistics available might begin to skew markets in the same way school catchment areas have done in the past, but others disagree and for example Judienne Wood, Lettings Director at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, thin the maps are “unlikely to have a major impact on London’s property prices”.
Judienne thinks properties in areas with a higher crime rate are already valued to reflect this and although some buyers or tenants may use crime maps as a research tool, factors such as transport, proximity to work, property types, schooling and amenities will also be taken into consideration and, as always, people will move to the best area they can afford.