Though the newly-released crime maps for the whole of England struggled with first-day user demand, they will be worth persisting with since they give intriguing portraits of areas which we haven’t seen in this detail before – Wanstead included.
Taking a snapshot of crime within a mile’s radius of a high street postcode – in this case E11 2AA – will necessarily give a flawed picture of Wanstead (which Wansteadium has always taken to mean Snaresbrook and Wanstead wards). For instance, anything south of Green Man roundabout is clearly not Wanstead, as is anything north of Chigwell Road. But, for sake of argument, and taking that as a constant for comparison in future months, we begin to see a picture of criminal activity in our area.
The figures for December 2010 were:
The area as a whole is described in the stats as having an average level of crime, but the numbers of violent crimes and burglaries does seem high for a single month. And the level of anti-social behaviour too will alarm many, though this no doubt includes a lot of low-level annoyance short of criminal behaviour. It might also reflect the ease of reporting activities to visible PCSOs, or even a degree of public-spiritedness among Wanstead residents being prepared to report anti-social goings on.
More details – including street-by-street analysis of offences – will become available as the site gradually copes with demand. Wansteadium for its part will report month by month how crime levels are changing: these maps have been devised as a tool of accountability, though some people have warned that they are likely to lead to increased levels of fear of crime. Others will discuss if it’s better to be aware of crime or oblivious to it, but it’s clear that these new maps could be a boon to the kind of localism people – including the readers of this blog and and hundreds of others around the country – seem to have a growing appetite for.