Mapping crime in London

Project Description

Where is crime happening and where is it not?

The map above shows 7,211 vehicle crime incidents recorded by London’s Metropolitan Police in September 2012. The data shows a clear pattern North of the Thames, surprising to some who might think that vehicle crime happens equally in North and South London.

The heat map is a great way to depict this data. A spreadsheet of more than 7,000 records is difficult to interpret and pins or clusters don’t work so well with so much data.

Here is an interactive version of the map below, allowing you to zoom in and out and explore the data:

How we got the data

The UK’s Police force is very open and transparent with its data and publishes data on a monthly basis. This shares the problem with the public, raises awareness of the issues that the Police face, and allows people to make more informed decisions. It also allows people to do more things with the data, multiplying its effect.

We selected monthly figures for the Metropolitan Police jurisdiction and downloaded the crimes by street as a spreadsheet.

How we structured the data

This was a pretty simple data set as the data was already structured and didn’t require any additional formatting. The spreadsheet did, however, contain other crime data which we stripped out for the purpose of this example.

The Police use the British National Grid (BNG) for their data which we support. Note, we use Easting and Northing as the column headings in this case, not latitude or longitude.

It would be great if the Police could give some additional data like the specific date instead of the month, or the specific crime type instead of just vehicle crime. For the timebeing, however, it’s a great start and a very transparent initiative by the government.

Download Data


Other ways to visualize the data

As we zoom the map in, the cluster map becomes useful to help us identify areas where incidents recur. Areas on the map, such as Piccadilly begin to stand out as hot spots.

As we zoom in further, pins are useful to identify the specific location of an event.



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