Category Archives: statistics

Thoughts of a Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator (2): crime statistics

We’ve been sent a message recently with some crime statistics. It reads ‘Please find attached a breakdown of the crimes [sic] types and number that occurred in your area in March 2017′ and a spreadsheet is attached.

I note the following:

a) There is no indication of what ‘your area’ is. Is it the whole of the place we live in? The part on our side of the river? Our local beat? Any smaller unit than that would make us quite a hotspot.

b) We were sent a similar breakdown of crimes a few months ago, but have had nothing since then until now, so it is impossible to get a picture of whether crime is going up or down, is seasonal, is changing in nature, or any other kind of longitudinal analysis.

c) The crimes are arranged alphabetically by type of crime using detailed categories, so that (for example) burglaries appear under both ‘Burglary….’ and ‘Other….’, not grouped together which makes it hard to get an overall picture.

d) I’m relieved to see that there have been no instances of murder or manslaughter and several other major crimes are absent. But has there really been no arson? Cars get set on fire quite often in the locality – should this be classified in a way that makes it clear fire was involved? And I don’t understand all the types of crime, for example ‘Engage in Controlling/Coercive Behaviour in an Intimate Family Relationship’. I’d have thought this was quite common, but not usually a matter for the police; presumably there is a line that has to be crossed before it is. Similarly with ‘Sending letters etc with intent to cause distress or anxiety (Mal Comms)’ which seems to be one of the commoner crimes round here.

For these reasons I won’t be circulating the spreadsheet round my NW email list.