Crime maps have formally reached England and Wales. The Home Office has unveiled www.police.uk and citizens can examine incidences and trends of crime in their
local area. Naturally, the website is broken at the moment. Nick Herbert, the Policing Minister, told the Today programme that the site crashed under the weight of 4 million users in an hour. The
government hopes that this interest will be sustained, inaugurating a revolution in transparency and accountability. People power will trump the unelected authorities of the past.
Crime maps merely record the facts of crime, but extensive trials suggested that they improve peoples’ knowledge of their neighbourhood and encourage locals to influence police strategy in
troubled areas. At the behest of locals, drug dealing, muggings, burglary and anti-social behaviour will be targeted by police. Up until now, arcane and often contradictory crime statistics have
occluded accountability. Now, forces will be judged on whether they visibly diminish incidence. If all goes to plan, crime maps will be a gun to the heads of elected police commissioners and crime
will be another responsibility devolved from central government to the localities.