NEW crime maps detailing offences reported in Newtownabbey on a street by street basis have been launched online.
Members of the public will be able to assess how safe an area is by using the postcode search service.
The maps, which are updated on a monthly basis, outline data on 11 categories of offence – burglary, anti-social behaviour, robbery, vehicle crime, violent crime, public disorder and weapons, shoplifting, criminal damage and arson, other theft, drugs, and other crime.
For example, in October the maps show that there were 156 crimes recorded in Glengormley, the majority of which were categorised as anti-social behaviour. In Ballyclare during the same period there were 63 crimes recorded, again the majority were anti-social behaviour related.
The resource also provides contact details for neighbourhood police officers working in each area.
Northern Ireland has been incorporated into an internet site already providing the crime mapping service for England and Wales.
Chief Constable Matt Baggott said the innovation was part of the PSNI’s drive to place the community at the heart of its service.
He said he hoped it would increase interaction between police and the public.
“This new website has been designed to provide the public with the latest information about crime and anti-social behaviour in their local areas, right down to street level,” he said.
“We want this information to help promote informed engagement between the public, their local neighbourhood police officers and partner organisations to identify local solutions to local issues.”
Steps have been taken to protect the identity and addresses of crime victims, so an incident will not be linked to a specific house or property, instead the street on which it happened.
Mr Baggott explained: “Our priority throughout the development of this new facility has been to ensure that the privacy of victims and individuals is protected, so we have worked closely with the guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office to ensure that all necessary safeguards are in place, and that all crime information is anonymised before being uploaded.
“While overall crime figures across Northern Ireland are at the lowest for many years, we can all play our part in driving crime down even further.
“This new service, which is updated monthly, is linked to local neighbourhood police team webpages, where people can also find other useful information about their local neighbourhood policing team, planned events for their area and community safety information. There are also links to information from other agencies and partners.
“I hope this will encourage even greater co-operation and interaction between police and the public, whether that’s by direct contact with local neighbourhood policing teams, at neighbourhood meetings or through local Police and Community Safety Partnerships.”
Policing Board chair Brian Rea praised the new service.
“This is an innovative system that will bring benefits for policing in terms of accountability, community engagement and partnership working,” he said.
“As a board we want people to take the time to access this new system, find out what the crime issues are in their area and then through their local Policing and Community Safety Partnership, ask what action is being taken by police and other agencies in response.”
Stormont Justice Minister David Ford said: “The perception of crime in local communities often differs sharply from the w“For the first time, this new website will enable the public to get accurate, relevant and timely information about crime and anti-social behaviour levels in their area. I commend the PSNI for introducing this new crime mapping facility which further reaffirms their commitment to community policing and accountability.”
The maps can be accessed online at www.psni.police.uk or www.nicrimemaps.org.