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UK open source crime data: accuracy and possibilities for research

Tompson, L; Johnson, S; Ashby, M; Perkins, C; Edwards, P; (2015) UK open source crime data: accuracy and possibilities for research. Cartography and Geographic Information Science , 42 (2) 97 - 111. 10.1080/15230406.2014.972456. Green open access

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Abstract

In the United Kingdom, since 2011 data regarding individual police recorded crimes have been made openly available to the public via the police.uk website. To protect the location privacy of victims these data are obfuscated using geomasking techniques to reduce their spatial accuracy. This paper examines the spatial accuracy of the police.uk data to determine at what level(s) of spatial resolution – if any – it is suitable for analysis in the context of theory testing and falsification, evaluation research, or crime analysis. Police.uk data are compared to police recorded data for one large metropolitan Police Force and spatial accuracy is quantified for four different levels of geography across five crime types. Hypotheses regarding systematic errors are tested using appropriate statistical approaches, including methods of maximum likelihood. Finally, a “best-fit” statistical model is presented to explain the error as well as to develop a model that can correct it. The implications of the findings for researchers using the police.uk data for spatial analysis are discussed.

Type: Article
Title: UK open source crime data: accuracy and possibilities for research
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/15230406.2014.972456
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15230406.2014.972456
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted. Permission is granted subject to the terms of the License under which the work was published. Please check the License conditions for the work which you wish to reuse. Full and appropriate attribution must be given. This permission does not cover any third party copyrighted material which may appear in the work requested.
Keywords: Indices of similarity, geomasking, open data, spatial crime analysis, spatial accuracy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1455360
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