Crime map site ‘an invasion of privacy’

27 Feb
A screenshot of the crimemap  website

A screenshot of the crimemap website

By Ashleigh Nay, Bond University Journalism Student

A new website mapping the precise locations of crimes on the Gold Coast has been launched and immediately drawn condemnation.

The privately run  crimemap.info provides public access to crime statistics by showing offence hot spots in surrounding streets and suburbs.

Unlike the official Queensland Police Service crime map that keeps addresses private, this website uses icons to indicate the type of offence, the specific residence or business, and if the crime was solved or unsolved.

Criminology Professor at Bond University Dr Terry Goldsworthy said  the website was an invasion of privacy and there was no benefit in making an address public information.

“When you have a generic location on the street like QPS does, it gives that privacy to people who want to report crime. Not everyone necessarily wants their crime reported,” he said.

“Where does crimemap.info actually delineate that someone moves out of a house and when someone new moves in. If a pedophile was previously living in a house you buy, then there will be a pedophile strike against your house.  I think it’s fraught with danger to be honest.”

Dr Goldsworthy admitted the website could aid crime prevention.

“If people are actively searching out the data, they can get that information and act on it,” he said.

He said it will make the community more aware, giving them the opportunity to increase security in and around their homes and businesses.

But Dr Goldsworthy said  the official QPS website already did that without invading privacy.

Arundel resident Isabella Brandli said the site should be shut down.

“It’s disgusting what they are able to do and what they are able to see. I can’t believe the Queensland Police are allowing this to happen,” she said.

“I feel that it invades my privacy. The fact that people can see what has happened at my house, private situations that have gone on. That’s not something that I want broadcasted to the public.”

Terry O’Gorman, vice-president of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, had agreed to an interview with Bond Gold Coast News but was called away at the last moment.

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