FearSquare is an application that allows people to visualize and interact with official UK crime statistics in a way that is specific to their own, individual, everyday life. People can use the application to easily get a picture of the levels of crime in places that they commonly live, travel through, or visit.
How does it work?
Millions of people currently use FourSquare to 'check-in' to locations that they encounter in their daily lives. This allows people to broadcast to their friends the locations of bars, cinemas and cafes that they commonly visit, schools and universities at which they study, etc. Because of FourSquare users' willingness to record and broadcast their location, we can cross-reference this data with other online databases to show users interesting information about those places.
The FearSquare application takes a list of your ten most recent FourSquare check-ins and cross-references these with the UK Police Crime Statistics database. In this way, we can show people how many crimes were committed, during a recent one-month period, in the locations where they checked-in.
Why is this interesting?
We feel that this application is interesting for a number of reasons. The recent release of street-level crime data by the UK Police drew huge public interest. However, the way in which Police data is represented is aimed purely at places - it does not allow for the fact that people commonly travel through a number of different areas on a daily basis. We do not feel that the way crime data is currently presented allows for an intuitive understanding of the real levels of crime people are exposed to on a daily basis. FearSquare does offer this level of individualization.
This project is also of interest to social psychology researchers. Specifically, this application represents a unique opportunity to evaluate peoples perceptions and fear of crime against the real Police statistics.