Dear friend... (click the picture to download the full PDF)

A fantastic bit of campaigning from the Labour Party.*

This sort of thing that the Liberal Democrats pioneered. A ‘hand-written’ letter to try and persuade you of the merits of their candidate. It’s meant to be more personal than a traditional leaflet and, therefore, have more impact. I got this delivered by Royal Mail this afternoon.

Except this doesn’t even mention Ken. Instead, it attacks Boris, purporting to be from a former Conservative activist.

The only way you’d know it was from Ken is by reading the small imprint where it reveals it’s from the Labour Party.

Promoted by London Labour

A desperate, desperate measure. Don’t mention Ken, just attack Boris in the hope it depresses his vote a little.

No wonder the bookies are already paying out on a Boris victory.

* By which I mean an awful bit of campaigning from the Labour Party

Crime on the borders: A murder map including the northern border of Wandsworth and Lambeth appears to show you are safer in Wandsworth.

I’m not allowed to map crimes, but others are still doing some interesting things. The Londonist highlighted a fascinating Murder Map of the capital.

The details seem to be taken from court reports, although the site itself is vague on the subject it has the appearance of being ancillary to a court reporting website CourtNewsUK. Personally I’d like to see a bit more transparency on that front.

However, the maps themselves are fascinating and an example of what can be done when information is free (although in this case I suspect the information, while free, wasn’t open and needed some resource to compile and collate). The data they created don’t seem to be available anywhere either, which is a shame.

Seeing the map resonated with a recent post on the SaferView blog about murder maps. That post was positive about them as a tool:

They are simple, straight forward and easy to interpret. They are the quickest way to understand where the safer and less safe neighbourhoods are in major towns.

I am a bit more sceptical. Murder is an unusual crime. Reading through the crime reports on the Murder Maps site it’s clear that the majority involve a victim and perpetrator who are known to each other, sometimes as family, sometimes through other criminal connections. Murder is not something that most people need ever fear.

However, looking at the map it would seem that there is a correlation between murder and other crime, which is quite interesting given the often very different motivations, victims and perpetrators. This is possibly an obvious conclusion, murder may ‘follow’ other crime, for example, you can’t really have a drug related murder unless there’s a drugs market in that area. Or it might be related to socio-economic factors, meaning that the same areas that are prone to high crime will also be prone to murder. There certainly seems to be a strong link between areas deprivation, affluence and murders on the map.

Once again I’m largely working outside London so will have sporadic internet access this week. While I’ve a few posts lined up and may manage few Posterous posts it might be a lot quieter around here this week.

Also, please be patient if waiting for responses to calls, emails, comments or tweets – you’re not ignored or forgotten, I promise!