UKCrimeStats and the Cambrian Data Explosion
Today, the Economic Policy Centre launches a new website, http://www.ukcrimestats.com/ – the country’s first free to view crime-ranking platform for Neighbourhoods, Police Forces and streets with maps, analysis and reports. It has taken many months to develop and brings a number of new capabilities beyond those of the government’s own website, www.police.uk. For example;
A unique and searchable crime id, linkable url page and map for each registered crime in England and Wales (unfortunately growing by 500,000 a month)
Displays which of the 43 Police Forces has the highest or lowest total crime / crime rate or in violent / vehicle / robbery / burglary / other / asbo crime and how do they rank against one another?
Which neighbourhoods in England and Wales have the highest total / violent / vehicle / robbery / burglary / other / asbo crime or crime rate in this month or between these 2 months?
Which streets in England and Wales had the highest total / violent / vehicle / robbery / other / asbo crime in this month or between these 2 months?
Where does my neighbourhood rank in the Neighbourhood Crime League table – within 5 miles of given postcode?
I believe strongly that there is tremendous parallel between open data and our evolutionary past. 530 million years ago, over a very short time period the Cambrian Explosion ushered in massive evolutionary change to the scale, complexity and range of life on earth. No one really quite knew why that happened. It’s now thought that the key driver behind this non-linear explosive event was the development of the eye. The ability to see for the first time, opened up all sorts of possibilities for species to multiply, diversify and find new ecological niches.
Equally, the new freedom of citizens to see the government’s data, crunch, compare, sort, contrast, publish, and dispute it with today’s computing power represents nothing short of the beginning of a Cambrian Data Explosion for public policy.
All that being so, we have entered UKCrimeStats to the Open Data Challenge http://opendatachallenge.org/ – fingers crossed !
Dan Lewis is Chief Executive of the Economic Policy Centre www.economicpolicycentre.com