'Crime maps stop crime reporting,' warn insurers
13 July 2011
Millions of homeowners and landlords have stopped reporting crimes over fears that the government's crime maps website could reduce the value of their property, insurance provider Direct Line has warned.
Launched in February, the Police.uk crime maps website was praised by ministers as an important part of their transparency agenda, using local police data to provide people with a street level view of crimes being committed in their area.
But research from Direct Line has now indicated people are not reporting crimes including theft, vandalism, mugging and violence, due to concerns that potential purchasers or renters would be driven away when the incident appeared on an online map.
The company's survey of 2,685 people showed 11 per cent of people had not reported a crime for this reason, which it said represented a complete national picture of more than 5.2 million people not reporting crimes.
And of those people who did not report crimes, 75 per cent were said to ignore anti-social behaviour like drug dealing or vandalism, 45 per cent were said not to have reported stolen or vandalised vehicles, 11 per cent were said to have turned a blind-eye to violent assault, and 16 per cent were said not to have reported instances of people being mugged or robbed on the street.
"It is extremely worrying that we may see crimes go unreported," said Andrew Morrell, head of Direct Line Home Insurance.
"With a struggling housing market, home owners are concerned about doing anything that could prevent a potential property sale or rental and that can include turning a blind eye if the incident could appear later on a police crime map."
But a Home Office spokesman told Publicservice.co.uk the feedback they had received was positive, and that no-one had reported the problem raised by the insurance provider.
"It is the crime that impacts negatively upon communities," the department said in a statement.
"Crime maps will allow residents to hold their local police to account for the level of crime and antisocial behaviour in their neighbourhood pushing police to tackle crime which really affects the local community."