Published: February 2, 2011
New crime maps website could hit house prices in Burnham-On-Sea

A new police website which provides crime maps showing the streets where crimes have occurred could hit property prices in some parts of Burnham-On-Sea, it has been claimed this week.

The controversial site, www.police.uk, went online for the first time on Monday and provides the number of crimes in every street across the UK, along with general descriptions of the crimes committed.

According to the site, the most crimes were committed in Burnham's Adam Street, where 11 incidents occurred. Five were related to anti-social behaviour, three were violent crimes and a further three were unspecified incidents.

Ladd Close in Highbridge was the second-worst street, where ten incidents were recorded. Church Street in Highbridge saw eight incidents, while Burnham's Churchill Close and Pier Street both notched up seven.

Critics of the website say that it may lead to house prices falls in some areas.

David Dalby, a director at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: "RICS welcomes any improved consumer information which allows homebuyers to make more informed decisions. However, taken out of context these crime statistics could have an effect on house prices."

"It's also worth remembering that information about local levels of crime is already available through environmental searches commissioned by conveyancers as part of the buying process, but only forms one of a huge number of factors taken into account by consumers when deciding where to live."

A 2004 study by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) found that more crime in a neighbourhood can mean lower house prices.

According to the research, it is relatively minor anti-social but highly visible crimes, like graffiti and vandalism, that have the largest negative effects on house prices, because they are seen as signs of deeper problems of neighbourhood social disorder.

Nigel Lewis from Findaproperty.com added: "On the face of it, online crime maps are a brilliant idea akin to the neighbourhood watch schemes launched during the 1980s, but they are also dangerous for the housing market."

"In the same way school catchment areas have skewed property markets around the UK and created 20% uplifts around good schools, so these maps could drive down prices in crime-stricken streets and postcodes."

Another critic of the website says the concerns may lead to residents reporting fewer crimes for fear of affecting property prices in their area.

What's your view? Is the new Police.uk website a useful facility for Burnham residents or are you concerned about the knock-on issues? Contact us here



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