Advertiser – ‘Net is closing in on criminals’

Swindon Advertiser today ran an article regarding the new Home Office Crime Mapping website, and some of the artefacts that it has shown up.

NEW street-level crime mapping launched this week has revealed the worst hit areas in the town.

The website, launched by the Home Office at midnight on Monday, allows members of the public to see reported crimes broken down to a street level for the first time.

On Tuesday the site crashed as it was swamped with an estimated 18 million hits an hour, or approximately 300,000 every minute.

The stats for Swindon, recorded for the month of December, reveal the town centre to be the worst affected by criminal activity and anti-social behaviour, including violence, drugs offences and shoplifting.

There were also some surprises with the region of Manor Park, in South Marston, accounting for 15 of the 19 incidents recorded in the whole village.

FEARS have been raised over inaccurate or misleading statistics on the new crime maps.

The Home Office have been blasted because of anomalies on quiet streets and the raw statistics are not put in context.

For instance Manor Park, a leafy cul-de-sac in South Marston, recorded 15 incidents last December placing it in the top 10 worst hit streets.

But resident Roy Chambers, 54, said: “It’s a surprise to me. My perception is that it is a quiet neighbourhood with a good neighbourhood watch.

“If I thought it was an area full of crime I would move.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The interests of victims has been at the heart of this work. We have taken great care to ensure that the identities of individuals are protected while giving people the information they need to challenge their police force and change their communities.

“This is why crimes are mapped to an anonymous point on, or near, the street where it happened, never to their precise location and not normally on streets with fewer than 12 postal addresses – in these cases crimes will be mapped to the next nearest location point.”

The full article is here.

Other resources:

Home Office Press Release

BBC news coverage

The Home Office’s own press release on

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One thought on “Advertiser – ‘Net is closing in on criminals’”

  1. When I read this article in the SA I thought a must be living in the wild west, so I contacted our local beat manager and re-produce his reply for all to rear. Thanks Marc for taking the time to explain.

    ‘Having now look at the site, I think I can answer your question.

    It appears that the site selects a location, in this instant MANOR PK,
    as a central point or nearest postcode.

    I would suggest that because South Marston is a small village, they have
    used only two streets, Manor Pk and Quarrybrook close, to try and cover
    the area.

    The 3 violent crimes will no doubt be Swindon Gablecross custody
    (assaults on police officers). The vehicle crime is in relation to the
    industrial site on Thornhill (theft of diesel), the ASB is at
    *********** ( I have removed the name of the property).

    The “other” crimes will be a broad spectrum (fraud, traffic offences,
    poaching, bilking’s, illegal immigrants etc), basically not the lead
    crimes which the home office stats are monitored on, but are still
    recorded.

    Most of the “other” offences again will be Gablecross, I.e.. When
    further crimes come to light when suspects are interviewed or brought in
    to custody, they seem to be recorded on my beat code. Some are Bilkings
    at the ESSO garage on the A420 (which are theft of fuel).

    I suspect that if I look at the other villages the same will be true for
    them, mainly because of the size of the village and the large amount of
    open rural area which my beat code area covers, the site will obviously
    move the crime to the nearest post code or residential street.

    So for instance, Hannington reflects 1 burglary on Queens rd, but this
    in fact a theft on a farm, I can safely say that no crimes have occurred
    within the village (which have been reported) during that month.

    Hope this helps, any further questions, let me know, if I cant answer, I
    will try to find out.

    Marc Jackson

    PC 1945
    CBM Rural North / Wildlife officer

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