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Millions jam UK's crime-map site

posted 2 Feb 2011, 06:00 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 2 Feb 2011, 06:02 ]
A new crime-mapping website to help people know more about crime in the areas where they live crashes within minutes of going live as millions try to log-on.
UK-CRIME MAP - Law and order - hot social topic and key political battleground.

Now for the first time people living in England and Wales will be able to see what crimes are committed in their street.

Interior Minister, Theresa May says a new crime-mapping website, launched by the centre-right coalition

government, will help local people assist the police to fight crime in their areas.

BRITISH HOME SECRETARY THERESA MAY, SAYING:

"The government believes in transparency and people being able to hold their public services to account. What this would be to give people real information of what is going on in crime and anti-social behaviour crucially for the first time in their local area and then they will be able to speak with the police, to look at the priorities the police are giving to this. Together they will be able to fight crime."

The maps provide a monthly snapshot of crime and antisocial behaviour on every street across England and Wales.

Information on crime is broken down into six areas.

But sensitive subjects like sexual offences are listed in a non-specific category, which also includes theft and shoplifting in order to protect victims' identities.

Victim Support Chief Executive Javed Khan is worried that the measures don't go far enough to protect victims.

VICTIM SUPPORT CHIEF EXECUTIVE JAVED KHAN, SAYING:

"I think that in particular area from the data we see, we might be able to identify who the victim actually was and in those circumstances it might make people that are very vulnerable already or suffering the trauma of victimisation, may make them feel even more vulnerable and they may not support an initiative like this."

Others are concerned that crime maps are misleading and could affect house prices - for example, streets with fewer than 12 houses are rolled into a wider geographic area.

But such is the hunger for information that almost as soon as the website went live it crashed as millions tried to access the site, with reports of up to 75,000 hits a minute.

Helen Long, Reuters

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