What is Safer.Place?
Safer.Place is a project created to help students who have to move house for university. This is a very difficult move for both international students, and the plethora of people that move from the countryside to a city or commuter town for university. These students must find accommodation, but when browsing rental websites they have no idea of the context of a listing; ie. they do not know the dangerous addresses from the safe ones, and do not know if they are being ripped off with a high rent in a dodgy area. Accommodation is one of the most pressing issues in Ireland today, and we wanted to do something to help those most vulnerable to being exploited in this area.
How does Safer.Place work?
We collate government-provided data on crime (specifically, this data set) that gives information on crimes reported within the remit of each Garda Station in the country. We then figure out what the closest Garda Stations are to the location you provide, and estimate a crime rating for that specific place. In calculating the 5-star rating for a location, we compare it to other areas within the same region to see how it measures up against other places. We only take other areas in the same region so that we are not measuring apples against oranges; for example the crime rates in Dublin are far greater than those of the countryside by virtue of its larger population density, and it would not make sense for the crime rating of the safest part of the city to be marked as unsafe just because it is not as safe as the hills of Donegal.
Do you take all crime data into account?
We only take data from recent years in calculating our answers, as old data is not relevant anymore. For example, Ballymun was once upon a time more dangerous, however is now moderately safe. We also only use data on particular types of crime, as we think things like blue-collar crimes arenot likely to signify that an area more dangerous.
Can I learn more?
All of our code is open source on Github, and our data is provided by the All-Island Research Observatory (sourced via the Irish Government's Open Data Portal at data.gov.ie), so you can see more about where the numbers come from. We also use the Google Maps Geocoding and Distance Matrix APIs to deal with locations and distances.