I’ve just published a new Kindle eBook about buying a house using location based services web sites and mobile apps; and one of the chapters in the book is about neighborhood crime. The topic is timely because in New Zealand the Police Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard has announced decreases in reported crime in 10 of the 12 Police districts. That’s great news!
My book starts off with a description of the experience of having my own family home burgled and how it affected us, combined with having glue bags thrown over our fence and the results of fronting our neighbors about this, after the Police were unable to help resolve who the perpetrators were.
On one of the news stories I saw on TV, the Police representative said that resolution of burglary crimes was not high and the focus was more on trying to reduce the incidence of them. I would have thought that with today’s fingerprint recognition technology and the likelihood that a large number of perpetrators would be repeat offenders, it would be relatively easy.
Anyway, if you are buying a home, one of the questions you will have is what the crime levels are for suburb or town you are looking at. In New Zealand this isn’t easy to find. At this time of year, there are annual statistics provided by Police, such as these ones for the Waikato region. District Commander Superintendent Wim van der Velde has asked the community to be vigilant and report suspicious activity.
In my book, I provide illustrations from web sites and applications around the world where you can actually go on a map and see what sort of crimes are being reported.
For example, this map shows types of crimes and their location in Madison Wisconsin. This site is available to the public and categorizes the types of crime. This might not be something you think about when you buy a house and if you don’t know the area and get it wrong, you could find yourself in a Hotel California situation.
If you were wanting to tidy up your neighborhood a map like this could help increase awareness and potentially help further reduce crime rates. I wonder what it would take for NZ Police to provide a service like this. If the public and neighborhood watch groups were able to see trends in their areas, particularly for crimes such as burglary and car theft, they would surely be more cautious when it comes to locking doors and keeping an eye on neighbors.
The statistics are all available. Police have them, insurance companies have them, they are already geocoded because the data is used by insurance companies for their risk analysis maps that their Big Data analysts use.
So how about it? Why don’t we have an application and a web site that allows Kiwis to see what is happening in our back yard? Maybe we can make life easier for ourselves and the Police, letting them spend more time on other crimes. This could be a major step to achieving the 13% reduction in crime, targeted by Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard.
I’d be happy to help set this up:)