The Home Office has launched a national interactive crime map for England and Wales that gives residents statistics...
on local crime figures and details on neighbourhood policing.
The national map replaces 43 individual maps that the UK's police forces have been running since January this year, averaging 50,000 hits a month.
The online map figures are for all crime, including burglary, robbery, violence, vehicle crime and anti-social behaviour in their area.
Viewers can compare one police area with another, compare figures over a three-month period against the same period for the previous year, and see annual crime rates.
They can see details of their neighbourhood police team, local policing priorities and information about forthcoming local events such as crime prevention meetings and local surgeries.
The website was developed by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) and police forces across England and Wales, for the Home Office.
Policing and crime minister David Hanson said crime maps were a key part of delivering neighbourhood policing. "Giving communities access to information like this not only improves public confidence but ensures police are responding to local people's needs," he said.
He said people wanted this information, which allowed them to hold the police to account and helped create a more responsive and effective service.
NPIA deputy chief executive Steve Mortimore said the national crime map was "a vital step forward" in increasing public confidence in the service police gave them.
"Fear of crime is known to outstrip the reality," he said. "The crime map will give people the facts about local crime and what forces are doing about it."
Crime mapping is part of the national Policing Pledge, which sets out standards and commitments on police response times, neighbourhood policing community engagement and time spent "on patch".
The new crime map is part of the government's initiative under web inventor Tim Berners-Lee to make more public information available in reusable formats.
For more Home Office data go to www.homeoffice.gov.uk/data.