• The purpose of the the Economic Policy Centre (EPC) is to promote high quality research and debate across all areas of economics in a free democratic society.
    The EPC's vision is to close the gap between economic policy and knowledge. Ultimately it brings together economic opinion formers - in academia, business, the media and government - in new and innovative ways.

  • 10 reasons why UKCrimeStats is better than Police.uk

    April 19th, 2011

    We can think of many more than 10 reasons but the driving force behind UKCrimeStats was to be able to do some proper analysis of the data of something that comes at great economic cost to the UK, crime.  So here goes;

    1. We use neighbourhood population data which means we can calculate Crime Rate. Crime rate is important because it takes into account how many people live a given area relative to the amount of crime and so imparts a better idea of risk.

    2. Each of the 500,000 crimes per month is given its own id, map and url e.g. http://www.ukcrimestats.com/Street_Crime/1001/

    – and you can search by id – try typing in any number 1 1,500,000

    3. We can do cumulative analysis over time or in just one month

    4. We have a neighbourhood ranking system – future elected Police Commissioners need some kind of metric for voters to hold them to account and this is a good starting point – search for your neighbourhood and see

    5. We are open about the shortcomings of the data – see our Problems With The Crime Data page and FAQ – and we correspond with Police Forces when we see problems so that they can be resolved

    6. You can advertise on the site according to Neighbourhood or within a certain number of miles within a given postcode – see here

    7. You can compare the 43 Police Forces to see which has the highest or lowest crime rate/total crime/type of crime in which month / over the selected months – see here

    8. You can export up to 1,000 rows of results to excel as a csv file

    9. You can ask nationally across England and Wales which neighbourhoods have the higest/lowest total / crime rate /  violent / vehicle / robbery / other / asbo in this month or over these selected months? – see here

    10.  You can ask nationally across England and Wales which streets have the highest total crime / violent / vehicle / robbery / other / asbo in this month or over these selected months? – see here – (we can’t show lowest until all streets in the UK have had a crime registered on them and with 3 months of data that’s not possible)

    I could go on and say that we’re independent and not funded by government. All in all, this is a work in progress with updates and improvements coming through each month.  We have also entered the site into the Open Data Challenge competition, so fingers crossed !

    EPC Space Fellow Jim Bennett on Yuri Gagarin’s anniversary and the New Space Race

    April 18th, 2011

    James C. Bennett writes:

    April 12th, was the 50th anniversary of the first human flight into space, that of the Russian Yuri Gagarin.  At the time, it was viewed entirely through the lens of the Cold War and its politics — as a propaganda tool by the Soviet regime, on their side — a proof of the glory of the Communist regime.  In the west, it was viewed as a symbol of Nikita Krushchev’s recent threat — “We will bury you.”   Today, the symbols of the Soviet era are found only in museums, and the same Soyuz launch vehicles now carry the double-headed eagle of the Russian Federation.  Gagarin himself is long dead, a victim of a mundane accident.  A new space race, driven not by politics but by the urge for exploration and industry pits not nation against nation, but multinational teams from across the globe in peaceful commercial competition.  In the long run Gagarin will be remembered not as the cog in the Soviet state machine that he was during his lifetime, but as the precursor of the expansion of humanity off the planet of our birth.

    Meanwhile, the emergence of a new suborbital provider intending to operate from the Netherlands demonstrates that the new space race is heating up Europe as well as America.  Recently the prestigious Southwest Research Institute, one of America’s premier space research organizations, startled the research world by reserving suborbital flights on both the American form XCOR Aerospace and the Anglo-American firm Virgin Galactic for scientific research, demonstrating that the term “space tourism” may become an inadequate description of human commercial suborbital flight.  Meanwhile, suborbital operators continue to await further clarification of the regulatory environment from authorities at both the national and European Union levels, which may determine the viability of EU member states as operational locations.  These new developments demonstrate that the stakes — jobs and stimulation of business and research —  in this matter are increasing as time goes by.

    UKCrimeStats goes down because of . . . crime !

    April 18th, 2011

    It’s quite an irony that all phone and internet lines near our datacentre went down for a few days from last Friday mid-afternoon until this morning because of the theft of 1,000 pairs of cable !

    So we had no way of getting our website UKCrimeStats back online again which is incredibly annoying in the early days of any website. And my initial anger with BT turned to some sympathy when I found out why this had happened.

    Cable theft is a growing problem and the root cause it would seem – other than dishonesty – has to be the pretty spectacular recovery of copper prices since 2008, now near recent highs.

    For all that, I find it quite incredible that this actually happened in broad daylight of the time of my cut-off was anything to go by. Cable theft is apparently costing the UK £770m a year – but that doesn’t include the lost time and opportunities to those dependent on broadband and telecom services.

    DECODING THE CRIME DATA IN ENGLAND AND WALES: DEC 2010 – FEB 2011

    April 15th, 2011

    We now have the first three months of data uploaded on www.ukcrimestats.com and I realise that not everyone has the patience to work their way through a lot of tables to get the big picture. So that’s why we produced this first report which contains the top 10 results for the different combinations over the first quarter of data. For more results than the top 10, go to the website and export up to 1,000 results to Excel. UKCrimeStats is the only website that can give you this kind of cumulative analysis.

    Decoding the Crime Data: Dec 2010 - Feb 2011And here are the contents;

    Key Findings

    Police Forces

    Table 1: The 10 Highest Total Crime Rate Police Forces

    Table 2: The 10 Lowest Total Crime Rate Police Forces

    Neighbourhoods

    Table 3: The 10 Highest Total Crime Neighbourhoods

    Table 4: The 10 Highest Total Crime Rate Neigbourhoods

    Table 5: The 10 Highest Total Violent Crime Neighbourhoods

    Table 6: The 10 Highest Violent Crime Rate Neighbourhoods

    Table 7: The 10 Highest Total Vehicle Crime Neighbourhoods

    Table 8: The 10 Highest Vehicle Crime Rate Neighbourhoods

    Table 9: The 10 Highest Total Robbery Crime Neighbourhoods

    Table 10: The 10 Highest Robbery Crime Rate Neighbourhoods

    Table 11: The 10 Highest Total Other Crime Neighbourhoods

    Table 12: The 10 Highest Other Crime Rate Neighbourhoods

    Table 13: The 10 Highest Total Burglary Crime Neighbourhoods

    Table 14: The 10 Highest Burglary Crime Rate Neighbourhoods

    Table 15: The 10 Highest Total Anti-social behaviour Crime Neighbourhoods

    Table 16: The 10 Highest Anti-social behaviour crime rate Neighbourhoods

    Streets

    Table 17: The 10 Highest Total Crime Streets

    Table 18: The 10 Highest Violent Crime Streets

    Table 18: The 10 Highest Vehicle Crime Streets

    Table 19: The 10 Highest Robbery Crime Streets

    Table 20: The 10 Highest Other Crime Streets

    Table 21: The 10 Highest Burglary Crime Streets

    Table 22: The 10 Highest Anti-social behaviour Crime Streets

    Policy Recommendations

    Annex: Problems with the data

    One of the things we’ve been very careful to be is open about the shortcomings of the data. Some of the results look wrong – but this is the official police data and that is what the site reflects. Here’s one finding we have flagged up on our FAQ page, appended below;

    “Why is Great Moor Street in Bolton the highest violent crime on or near street in England and Wales?

    The official data feed from www.police.uk belonging to Greater Manchester Police says it is. If you’d like to check, please download the official file http://crimemapper2.s3.amazonaws.com/frontend/crime-data/2011-02/2011-02-greater-manchester-street.zip . The problem appears to be the accompanying sentence to nearly every crime on or near Great Moor Street which says “CrimeMapper has moved this record to a location that is the system’s nearest available street to the centre of the policing foot-beat where the record was originally plotted”.

    We don’t know why they’ve done that, perhaps the location records were lost?

    It has skewed the results but we can’t guess which street each of these crimes were on and this website only reflects the official police data. And to remove the crimes on the street from the database would be a distortion as well. If it changes, we will change it too. But this is in the hands of the police and their data record-keeping.”

    For all that, we are confident that UKCrimeStats is by far and away the most accurate, open and analytical website for looking at the crime data in the UK. And as the monthly data continues to accumulate and the Police and RKH get better at improving its quality, UKCrimeStats will be able to give an even more precise picture of what’s going on.

    Today’s launch of our new platform www.ukcrimestats.com

    April 11th, 2011

    See here and here’s a brief post I guest-blogged for the London Data Store about it earlier today.