From today, victims of street crime in London will be able to report attacks online, as part of a scheme to get more people involved in keeping communities safe.
The StreetViolence website also allows those who have suffered robbery and other crimes to post witness appeals and warn the local community by pinpointing the crime on a Google map.
The Witness Confident charity, which is behind the scheme, hopes that it will galvanise people to become more involved in helping to keep communities safe by providing accurate information about the circumstances of an incident.
Guy Dehn, director of Witness Confident, says: “As a way of telling the police you can help, the site is a welcome alternative to hanging behind at the scene, standing around at a police station or waiting in line at a call centre.
“This matters, as there’s little chance the police can make our streets safer if witnesses don’t come forward.”
Witness Confident says identification of the offender is vital in street crime, so witnesses are critical to the solution.
By providing incident descriptions, still and moving images of the scene, and by giving witnesses secure access to the right police team, Witness Confident hopes StreetViolence will help to deter opportunistic crime.
Earlier this month Channel 4 News Home Affairs Correspondent Simon Israel reported on a scheme being trialled in Manchester and Birmingham, in which crime hotspots are monitored and the resulting data used to predict the location of future crime incidents.
The scheme produced a 26 per cent drop in burglary over a one-year period in Greater Manchester’s Trafford ward.
In January Home Secretary Theresa May announced that the police’s crime-mapping website is to be extended to include details of crimes “near a range of public places”. Police.uk, which contains information about crime and policing across the UK, received more hits than any other government website last year.