Police data website sheds new light on crime


A world-leading crime data website giving the public better information about New Zealand crime statistics is proving difficult to access because of security settings.

The supposedly interactive and user-friendly tool went live on Wednesday, but many are getting an error page that says 'this site can't be reached'.

Police say it could be because of a 'default security setting' on certain networks, blocking access.

For those who can access the site, policedata.nz will allow for people to access a range of information about victims, offenders and crime trends.

Most of the statistics were already available on the Statistics New Zealand website, but this Police website makes the information much easier to understand.

It also gives people a chance to look at the times and days that certain crimes are committed, and where they are committed which wasn't previously accessible.

"That's particularly important for neighbourhood support groups and community patrols," says Police chief data scientist, Dr Gavin Knight.

Statistics New Zealand has helped Police launch the website, and is still involved as an independent authority so Police aren't solely responsible for publishing its own data.

"We're very confident around the quality of the data and the reliability of it," says Police deputy chief executive of strategy, Mark Evans.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner was also consulted to ensure no one's privacy is being breached.

"We are seeking to balance privacy with opportunity to provide more information about crime in their local area," says Mr Evans.

As well as giving the public more information about what crimes are happening and where, it provides Police with an extra tool to analyse crime data.

"We know that they use that information to make decisions about how to deploy staff, which times and which places that we should be particularly concentrating on," says Mr Evans.

While the website was live, police demonstrated the tool in the Wellington area.

Unsurprisingly, it showed the greatest number of assaults in the central area around Courtenay Place, in the late hours of Saturday night and early hours of Sunday morning.

Police wouldn't put a price tag on the new website, but say it has been built into the Police budget over recent years.