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The impact of information about crime and policing on public perceptions

Published: February 2011


We tested the impact of crime maps and other types of information provision on public perceptions of their local area and the police.

The data was collected by NatCen and analysed by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA). You can read the full report on the National Policing Improvement Agency’s website.


The public response was largely positive:

  • 89% trusted the policing information
  • 86% found it to be informative
  • 83% trusted the crime maps
  • 77% found the crime maps to be informative

Attitudes to the police and local areas also improved as a result:

  • Both types of information had a modest positive effect on perceptions of neighbourhood policing
  • People were slightly more likely to think that the police understood their concerns and dealt with the things that mattered
  • After being provided with a crime map, people were slightly less likely to think crime was going up locally


We carried out a randomised control trial that involved giving a large and nationally representative sample of people crime maps and/or other types of information about their local area. Their views about the police and their neighbourhoods were then compared to an equivalent group of people who had not received the same information.  In total 7,434 people participated in the trial.

Read the full report

Download the technical report