Today, the Home Office has launched an interactive map which will enable the general public to compare crime rates in every town and village in England and Wales.
Top policing searches:
- Crime mapping
- Crime maps
- Crime prevention
- Crime information
- Report crime
- Crime statistics
- Law enforcement jobs
- Neighborhood watch
- Crime stoppers
The site will give immediate access to figures on burglary, robbery, violence, vehicle crime and anti-social behaviour and will enable users to zoom in on the location of their choice to find out more about the crime levels in the area.
Policing will be under scrutiny, with details of local policing priorities and information about crime prevention meetings available.
Visitors to the site will also be able to view crime figures from a three-month period and compare the information with the same period from the previous year.
The idea is to boost the public's confidence in the police service but will it have the desire effect?
Policing and Crime Minister David Hanson MP said: "Crime maps are a key part of delivering neighbourhood policing and giving communities access to information like this not only improves public confidence but ensures police are responding to local people's needs.
"We know the public want this information, which will allow them to hold the police to account and help create an even more responsive and effective service."
Steve Mortimore, deputy chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency, added: "Fear of crime is known to outstrip the reality. The crime map will give people the facts about local crime and what forces are doing about it.
"It is a crucial way of improving the efforts to tackle local crime, since communities that are involved in policing help reduce crime and bring more offenders to justice."
However, when the local maps were introduced early in the year, the Police Federation of England and Wales had some concerns over whether the site would simply act as an aid to criminal intelligence.
Let us know what you think. Will you be making use of the map or are you concerned that it will lead to crime hotspots?