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Identifying and tackling crime hotspots with location intelligence

How location-based context was key to better understanding local crime patterns and trends

The first duty of the government is to keep citizens safe and the country secure.

Working with 29 separate agencies and public bodies including the Police Advisory Board for England and Wales, the Security Service, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, the Home Office plays a critical and varied role in keeping the UK’s streets safe.

It’s been great to support the Home Office in their work understanding geographical variations in offending and victimisation in the provision of the PointX dataset, a joint venture between Landmark and OS. Once again we are seeing the critical role that location data plays in underpinning our emergency services.

Giles Martin, Head of Data Sales at Landmark


Tackling a range of crime types including “serious violence” has been a focal point of policy and operational interest for the Home Office in recent years. To better understand geographical variations in offending and victimisation, the department has explored opportunities for combining crime data with location-based data.

The Home Office then approached Ordnance Survey (OS), the national mapping service of Great Britain, to provide the necessary geospatial datasets and location expertise.


Numerous OS datasets were made available to the Home Office for free under the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA) including OS Open ZoomstackOS MasterMap Highways and OS AdressBase Premium. But to provide the specific context for what was happening where, Points of Interest data was used.

Points of Interest is the most comprehensive, location-based directory of all public and privately-owned businesses, education and leisure services in Great Britain. It also contains data from PointX, which was supplied to the Home Office by Landmark.

Once the Home Office had all the datasets they needed, they created an interface which enabled them to overlay their own Police Recorded Crime data on top of the detailed OS mapping layers and the Points of Interest data, providing them with the full picture of what was happening where.

Crucially, Landmarks specific product knowledge allowed the Home Office to discuss their requirements in detail and enhance the interface over time. Furthermore, Landmark identified supplementary categories of the Points of Interest data and supplied them to the Home Office, providing a focussed version of the data for their requirements.


OS datasets available under the PSGA in combination with the Points of Interest Data enabled the Home Office to identify key features of crime hotspots and identify comparator ‘control’ areas that support the robust evaluation of interventions.

By combining advanced data science techniques with richer and more granular geospatial data, we have been able to produce more insightful analytical models which has provided a greater understanding of local crime patterns and trends.

Home Office spokesperson

If you want to learn more about how you could use these OS products to your benefit, talk to our consulting team.

The original source of this case study is the Ordnance Survey website.