Observant visitors to this blog may have noticed the recent appearance of a “wiki” button at the top of the page. This links to the recently established Stubborn Mule wiki, which I plan to use as a repository of information relevant in some way to the blog. Since so many of the posts here focus on data analysis, I have started with a collection of links to useful sources of data online, particularly economics and finance data.
The latest link I have added is to the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics & Research (while I did not include it in the economics and finance section, maybe it does belong there). This site includes a research data set which provides monthly crime data going back to 1995 broken down by local government (council) area and offence type. Needless to say, the first thing I was interested to learn was the level of criminality in my own local area, particularly as I moved here only very recently.
The chart below shows the total number of crimes in the various offence categories for 2008 in my local government area of Marrickville. While I was not surprised to see theft coming in at the top of the list, there were a few oddities further down. I was initially surprised to see driving offences at the bottom of the list. My driving is, of course, impeccable but I do not know if the same is true of all of my neighbours, not to mention visitors to the area. Digging further, I discovered that from 2003 onwards*, the figures for driving offences have been zero for all areas and transport regulatory offences have leapt up. So, presumably there has been a classification change. One mystery solved.
Marrickville Crime Count (2008)
More intriguing is blackmail and extortion. Until 2008, the highest rate this crime had reached in Marrickville was four cases per year and in three years, the figure was zero. Yet, in 2008, there were nine cases of blackmail and extortion. What lies behind this wave of blackmail around the corner? Mystery not solved.
This led me to examine other trends through time. Starting with theft, I was gratified to learn that 2008 was the lowest year for theft since these records began. I am hoping 2009 will be lower still.
Occurrences of Theft in Marrickille
A look at prostitution also suggests the area has become more law-abiding after a significant spike in offences in 2001.
Occurrences of Prostitution Offences in Marrickville
As for serious crime, Marrickville experienced three homicides in 2008. The total number of homicides in the area since 1995 is 66, putting Marrickville in a somewhat disturbing 14th place out of 155 local government areas, although these two have been reducing over recent years. For those interested in the most murderous areas in New South Wales, here is a list of the top five areas in terms of total homicides since 1995. Any country readers will note that all of these local government areas are in Sydney (the area in the table labelled “Sydney” encompasses only the central business district and some inner-city suburbs).
* The historical data for Marrickville is in the “Files” section of the blog.