The ground-breaking police website designed to map the region’s crime levels street-by-street has come unstuck with a series of glitches and anomalies that have left residents furious.
The Police.uk website was designed to allow anyone to enter their postcode and find out police records of burglary, robbery, violence, vehicle crime and anti-social behaviour on their street during December 2010.
But surfers who managed to get on to the website found safe streets in Birmingham wrongly branded as crime-ridden hotspots.
In one case, a peaceful care home complex for the elderly in Olton, where the oldest resident is 104, was said to have suffered 11 crimes in December alone.
However, the chief executive of the Sir Josiah Mason Trust revealed the crime level at the gated site was zero and no-one could think of a crime happening in the last 20 years.
Richard Hall said he was so incensed he had written to the police calling for the inaccurate data to be corrected amid fears that it could have a detrimental effect on the work of the charitable trust and the residents.
“It just goes to show how misleading such information can be.
‘‘People are influenced by league tables and statistics but things like this can have an adverse effect,” he said.
“This is one of the most secure environments for elderly people I can imagine in the West Midlands, it is an oasis with beautiful landscaped gardens. It is really disappointed to see it being presented in this way.”
The website showed that a leafy cul-de-sac in the shadow of Stechford police station emerged as an unlikely contender for a crime hotspot, suffering a crime every three days in December.
But residents in the peaceful Alcombe Grove found that a glitch in the system appeared to draw in crimes from neighbouring areas and linked them to their road.
A police source said records showed just four crimes in the entire year.
Reginald Potter, aged 83, said: “There have been no problems here. It’s a safe area. I haven’t heard of any crimes or issues or seen the police come round for anything.”
Meanwhile, it was widely reported that Bickenhill Lane, in Solihull, was the most crime-ridden street in the region, with 119 offences.
Closer examination of the maps showed all of the offences were in fact linked to the NEC and Birmingham International Airport and residents had not suffered any crime.
Policing Minister Nick Herbert said the maps were a “very important step forward” in accountability and transparency’’.