Home Office announces interactive crime maps for every neighbourhood

Online interactive crime maps will allow people to see exactly how much crime happens in their neighbourhood - and possibly even by their street - by the end of the year.

The Home Office said the maps will let anyone with internet access see when and where crimes take place street by street, for some offences. The very web 2.0 tech will also allow us to compare our streets with others, which should have an interesting effect on housing prices in high crime areas.

The maps will be updated with monthly crime data, so residents and police can track trends.

West Midlands police demonstrated the tech to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith yesterday, and will be one of the first forces to roll out the crime mapping website when their version goes live in September.

For a picture of the system, click Gallery above.

Other early adopters include Hampshire, Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Smith said the maps will help the public get involved with fighting crime. "By rolling out up-to-date, interactive crime maps we can better inform people about crime problems in their area and enable them to have much more of a say in what their local police focus on."

She added: "This will help increase public confidence in the police and make communities safer." Presumably, confidence will only follow if crime statistics are less scary than expected.