New on-line tool puts people in Norwich in the picture on crime in the city
We already know that Norfolk remains one of the safest counties in the country – figures released last month showed that the county along with Devon and Cornwall had the lowest levels of crime committed per population in the country.
But, thanks to a newly extended policing tool, people living in the county have the chance to see just how safe they are – by being able to see where exactly crime is being committed and what type of crime it is.
The police.uk website allows users to see offences reported in their locality by entering a street name or postcode.
The website was launched earlier this year but has now been extended to include a wider range of offences such as theft, shoplifting, criminal damage and drugs. By the end of the year, the website is set to include the naming of specific pubs, clubs, football stadiums, parks and shops around which crime and anti-social behaviour is concentrated.
By May 2012, the website will show what has happened after a crime has been reported to the police and track its progress through the courts.
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It also allows access to a tool which compares all 43 forces in England and Wales on crime rates and victim satisfaction.
The Crime and Policing Comparator, which has been set up by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, allows people to bring together data from all 43 police forces across England and Wales for the past three years.
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It gives members of the public the opportunity to compare performance between regions and uses four key themes: recorded crime and anti-social behaviour; detection rates; force finances; workforce numbers.
Sir Denis O'Connor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said: 'Part of our role at HMIC is to provide the public with reliable information about the police.
'That is why we have produced this easy to use on-line tool, enabling people to see how their force compares. To ensure the public get a complete picture of policing, HMIC continues to inspect forces and publish professional judgments in our reports.'
This means that all manner of information regarding crime in the area in which you live is now available at the click of a mouse. You just need to know where to go to find it.
A spokesman for Norfolk police said the newly extended website would help people understand exactly what the police were dealing with in trying to keep members of the public safe. He said: 'We are committed to providing high quality information that is easily accessible by all. The latest developments on the crime comparator site assist an understanding of what the police are dealing with nationally and locally to keep the public safe and protect them from harm.
'This information complements the wealth of news, information, advice and guidance that is available via the constabulary's website – www.norfolk.police.co.uk – which also invites the public to get in touch with us directly and to sign up to receive regular updates from us.'
So what can those living in Norfolk glean from some of the information available?
It highlights the fact that anti-social behaviour is by far the biggest problem blighting not only communities across Norfolk but the police too.
Statistics show that it is Norwich which faces the toughest challenge, not only in combating anti-social behaviour but crime in general.
It shows there were 1,015 crimes in the city centre area in September 2011.
Anti-social behaviour was the biggest problem, with 445 crimes recorded, followed by theft (132), violent crime (115) and shoplifting (101).
Most of the issues occurred on Prince of Wales Road, with 77 of all the offences recorded in September occurring in the heart of the city's clubland.
In Great Yarmouth, the comparator shows there were 626 crimes in the area in September. Again anti-social behaviour was the biggest problem, with 325 crimes compared to 82 recorded for violent crime.
The town's Marine Parade area, which has the highest concentration of bars, clubs and amusements, was responsible for 13 of the crimes. But Market Gates (16), the area near Suffolk Place (16), on or near St Peter's Road (15), Deneside (14), and Britannia Road (14), all had more crime recorded.
Do you have a crime story for the Evening News? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email firstname.lastname@example.org