Car crime in Cambridge

This morning the Cambridge News website features an article headlined “REVEALED: The ten worst places to park your car in Cambridge”, which presents car crime data across the city over the last two years. On reading the article, it turns out that these “ten worst places” are simply ten of the city’s fourteen wards – and there are only about 11 reported car crimes a week across the whole city. An alternative headline for the article might be “Not much car crime in Cambridge – and it’s falling”, though perhaps this might not grab the reader’s attention so effectively.

Anyway, I thought this article was crying out for a graph of the data, so here it is. The graph shows reported car crime in each of Cambridge’s 14 wards over the two years up to April 2013:

Top of the table is Abbey ward – the article makes a connection with parking for football matches at Cambridge United’s Abbey stadium, though King’s Hedges, which doesn’t have any football stadiums, has a level nearly as high. It’s also notable that Market ward, which covers the city centre and is a hotspot for overall crime, is well down the table. This is probably because it has relatively little on-street parking and its multi-storey car parks have extensive CCTV coverage. Finally, as a resident of the much-maligned Arbury ward, I’m pleased to see that it has one of the lowest levels of car crime.

Here’s the same data on a map, with darker colours showing a higher level of reported car crime:

The two darkest wards are King’s Hedges in the north and Abbey in the east. These car crimes are mainly damage to vehicles and/or stealing things from them. There is also another type of vehicle crime in Cambridge which, although it has been falling in the last couple of years, is still much higher than the level of car crime. I expect you can guess what it is – cycle theft.


Unlike the car crime numbers, these figures do include the surrounding villages as well as the city, but it’s likely that the bulk of them relate to the city itself. Although the level of bike theft has fallen by a third in the last two years, there are still nearly 40 reported bike thefts across the city each week, plus an unknown (but probably large) number of unreported ones. In comparison, here are the car crime figures on the same scale:

Although these figures aren’t directly comparable as they cover different areas, they do give an indication of the balance of criminal activity. Get a good lock.

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