Reported Crimes in Manchester & Salford

Published June 2018

Open Data, Python, DC.js, D3.v4.js, D3-annotation.js, Leaflet, Mapbox

36% Higher Crime in 2018 than 2015

75% Higher Excluding Antisocial Behaviour

There is 36% more crime reported in January 2018 compared with February 2015 according to data gathered from the open police data portal. However, this figure doubles when antisocial behaviour – which is not a crime per se – is excluded from the calculation. These figures are in line with an article by the Manchester Evening News last year, in which the rise in crime was attributed to policing cuts.

While most offences seem to be trending upwards, the rise in reported crime seems to be driven mostly by increases in violence & sexual offences and public order offences.

Reported Crime Locations

Crimes in Manchester and Salford occur mostly around the center, which is typical for areas with higher densities of people and business. However, some crimes appear to be unique to certain regions. Click on the possession of weapons bar at the bottom of the bar chart, for example, and you will see this category of crime has mostly been reported in the south. Zooming in, you can see that the area contains Manchester International Airport. In 2013, multiple news outlets published a story on weapons seized at the airport, saying that many offenders are coming back from holiday with souvenires like katanas, replica firearms, and blow pipes. This story is from 5 years ago, and the data used below only goes back as far as 2015, so it's hard to say if holidaymakers are still the reason for the elevated incidence of weapons possession in this area.

Weapons Possession

Due to location anonymisation, plotting weapons possesion reports from Manchester International Airport results in significant overlapping of data dots, making them appear black and opaque rather than light grey and transparent. According to the data, there were 491 cases of weapons possession in the airport region between February 2015 and January 2018. This accounts for approximately 1 fifth of all cases across Manchester and Salford during this time. Of these 491 cases, 88% were not pursued (either "formal action" or "further investigation") given that to do so would not be in the public interest, supporting the idea that these offenders were likely holidaymakers who inadvertantly broke the law.

You can see some of these cases by hovering over the dots.

Violence and Sexual Offences

Excluding antisocial behaviour, the most common crime reported to police is violence and sexual offenses. Unfortunatey, this category is extremely broad, including a total of 293 unique offenses. More details regarding what these unique offenses are can be found in this spreadsheet download from the Police FAQ page. In contrast, theft is separated into six categories: "other theft", "burglary", "shoplifting", "theft from person", "robbery", and "bicycle theft". While it may be important to bucket violence and sex crimes together – perhaps to provide privacy to those who were victims, relatives, or suspects of these serious and distressing crimes – including almost 300 offenses into one category prevents us from understanding the prevalence of specific crimes in our neighborhoods and cities. Do we have a right to know how many murders have been committed or if sex trafficking is on the rise?

Data Sources

  • Greater Manchester LSOA boundaries provided as shape files and converted to geojson in QGIS.
  • Greater Manchester crime data. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.