How's your 'hood?

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research – definitely the best state or territory crime body in the country – is planning to provide people with precise details on where crimes occur (report here, data here). It looks like the system may be based on the successful New York CrimeStat program.

I expect this will prompt the same issues as the publication of school test scores (or value-added scores): some people will say that it’s going to stigmatise high-crime neighbourhoods, while others will claim that the public has a right to know. I don’t think the debate over crime stats or school league tables is straightforward, but my natural inclination is to feel that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and that the more we know about dangerous streets and underperforming schools, the more likely it is that we can solve the relevant problems.

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3 Responses to How's your 'hood?

  1. One of the big problems with improving the public information of crime statistics is the nature of reporting. Notwithstanding the debate of CrimeStat type programs, some of the geographic and social areas experiencing the highest levels of crime simply don’t match the data of crime monitoring bodies because of under-reporting, and there appears limited information and research in this area.

    Research in this area is difficult but is certainly valuable in terms of shedding light. Figures put about range up to around 90% under-reporting levels (not backed with research) and this would have devastating effects on communities.

  2. Kevin Cox says:

    Would this come under freedom of information anyway? If States or the Commonwealth don’t do it then perhaps a community group could request it?

  3. Depends.
    Is it to be where the crime was committed, or where the crime was reported, or where the perpetrator was from? Is it to be only crime against persons? or bylaws or will it include IVOs from all sectors, bankcrutpcies, bans on being a director, child support orders,

    When I was younger part of my empire of influence extended to a large melbourne inner city high rise public housing estate partly filled with recent arrivals of non english spiking background. Crime rates where high. Much tutting and action requesting from local worthies and councillors. Lets look at it I said. The facts. It took a while of talking to cops, courts and community treatment orders persons etc. Snaffled a criminology student to help. Took time.

    Turns out:
    1 – yes a lot of crime was committed on high rise estate
    2 – 90%+ of perps lived off the estate
    3 – 50% of crimes could be linked to 3 or 4 “families” or households.

    Figures don’t lie but liers can figure.

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