Every police force in England and Wales will publish interactive crime maps online by the end of the year, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced.
"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 said.
The project is part of the government's commitment to deliver more crime information to the public as outlined in the Policing Green Paper, published earlier this month.
West-Midlands police will be among the first to introduce the maps when an updated version of its crime-mapping website is launched in September.
Crime mapping has also been pioneered by West Yorkshire police, which began making information available to the public in this way two years ago.
Sir Norman Bettison, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on policing futures, said, "Given the positive response from the public, ACPO supports the roll-out of this facility nationally."
He said the project fulfilled a key responsibility to give information to communities so they can see the real level of crime and help the police to address it.