This map shows you where it’s safe to park

August 20, 2017

Not owning a car has plenty of disadvantages, but there are two big pluses I can think of: no upkeep costs, and one less thing to worry about being stolen. Apparently, the latter is a course of serious anxiety for car owners, and so the Co-Operative Insurance has come up with an interactive map that shows you just how sketchy a neighbourhood is before you abandon your pride and joy there.

The web based tool is called Park Smart, and it pulls in open data published by the Home Office for all of England, Northern Ireland and Wales. No data for Scotland means that you’ll just have to rely upon your instincts, sadly.

Other than that, it’s pretty straightforward: plug in your postcode, or let your browser geolocate you, and you’ll see how many vehicle crimes were committed on each street between November 2016 and April 2017. Not that past crimes are guaranteed to indicate where future crimes will take place, of course – this isn’t Minority Report – but it at least gives you an idea of where’s safer, historically speaking.

Or more likely, it will give you the idea that nowhere’s safe. Or at least, that’s the feeling I got from entering my postcode into the system. I suddenly feel relieved I don’t have a car to steal. That’s South London for you. Still, should I ever feel the need to get into the lucrative world of car crime, it’s good to know I’ve chosen to settle in the industry’s equivalent of Silicon Valley.

Although it’s a web application, it works pretty smoothly on mobile, which is pretty much essential for a tool like this. After all, if you are on the verge of parking in an iffy part of town, the one thing worse than parking there is pulling out your expensive laptop to check whether it’s safe to park there…

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