Guide for the Crime Mapping Tool

This page includes written instructions, tips, and FAQs on how to use BOCSAR’s crime mapping tool to access information on incidents, offenders and victims within NSW Local Government Areas (LGAs), suburbs and postcodes, as recorded by NSW Police. For an online demonstration on how to use the Crime Mapping Tool, see our YouTube tutorial.

Instructions and tips

Selecting an offence

Choose the offence or sub-offence you are interested in from the options on the left hand side navigation menu. Where an offence can further be split into sub offences, a + button will be visible, indicating that you can drill down on this offence. You can only choose one offence at a time.

By clicking on the offence, the offence title will be greyed. When you select an offence, the map will display the rate per 100,000 residential populations for that offence type.

To deselect the offence click the x button. All offences will then reappear.

Selecting advanced filters

'Advanced Filters' allow for more complex information to be returned. Under the advanced filters (located below the offence selection) are three counting units: Incidents (the default), victims and offenders. Make a selection and other possible options will drop down.

Incidents: under 'Advanced Filters' (located below the offence selection) select 'Incidents'. You can then further refine your search by selecting the time of the week (e.g. weekend or weekday), the time of day (e.g. night or day), alcohol or non-alcohol related, domestic or non-domestic violence related, and premise type (e.g. school, hospital, licensed premises etc). More than one filter category can be applied, for example alcohol related incidents by premise types.

Victim and offender: under 'Advanced Filters' (located below the offence selection) you can select either 'victim' or 'offender'. You can then further refine your search by selecting age, gender, alcohol or non-alcohol related, domestic or non-domestic violence related and premise type. More than one filter category can be applied for example adult and females.

Some filters cannot be applied to certain offences. If a filter does not appear when you select an offence, that option is not available.

Alcohol or non-alcohol related incidents: this filter (within the three counting units under 'Advanced Filters') can only be applied to selected offences (such as domestic and non-domestic assault, murder, sexual offences, offensive language and conduct).

Domestic and non-domestic violence related incidents: this filter (within the three counting units under 'Advanced Filters') can only be applied to selected offences (such as assault, murder, sexual offences, harassment, abduction/kidnapping).

Selecting a geographical area:

To see information for a specific geographical area (e.g. suburb/postcode/LGA) type the region into the textbox towards the top right of the screen above the map, or click the name of the region within the drop down list. Alternatively, you can select regions by map navigation, clicking the regions you are interested in, or by selecting the table view you can scroll through the list of available regions and select the ones you are interested in.

You can only view one type of geography at a time (e.g. only postcodes, suburbs, or LGAs). If you try to choose a mix of geography types (e.g. two postcodes and then a suburb) a message will display advising that your earlier selections will be cleared. 

In table view, the data for total NSW will always appear in the first row. The regions you have selected will then appear in the rows below. The boundaries of the selected regions will also be highlighted on the map (a blue outline).

Selecting a date range

To select more than 2 years of data (which is set as the default for this application), open the table tab and select the number of years from the drop down on the left hand side. The data will always end with the most recent month and year available.

Use the year drop down box next to the geography search bar to change the start year for your data as well as to view rate maps in 12 monthly periods.

Changing variable selection:

The title across the top of the tool provides a summary of your selection (directly under the purple NSW Crime Tool banner). It is also attached to the data titles.

To deselect regions, click the selected region on the map, table or graph. To deselect an offence, click the x on the top level offence selected (e.g. Assault) and then choose another offence. The map/table/graph will automatically update. You can also restore all the default settings by hitting the refresh button on your browser (often advised) or within the tool.

Changing between the tool features

If you want to see the data used to create the map, click the 'Table' button on the top navigation menu.

If you want to see the data in a graphical format, click the 'Graph' button on the top navigation menu.

If you want to see the rate map, click the 'Rate Map' button on the top navigation menu.

Data representation options:

Rate map: is the default view when the Crime Mapping Tool is opened. These maps show the relative rate of crime per head of residential population for areas across NSW. Users can choose to compare crime rates across council areas (Local Government Areas), postcodes and suburbs. For the chosen level of geography the map shows areas with high, low and moderate crime rates computed by dividing the number of recorded incidents/victims/offenders by the residential population for each area. Local Government Areas with populations of less than 3000 and postcodes and suburbs with populations less than 2000 are hatched because their recorded crime rate can be unreliable. Areas with very small populations (i.e. less than 100) are shown clear on the map. In areas with small populations, a modest number of incidents/victims/offenders can have a large effect on the calculated crime rate thus giving a misleading representation of crime in that location. Rates should also be treated cautiously for regions with high visitor numbers relative to the residential population: a particular issue for the Sydney city centre.

Table: show the trends, count and rates for all of NSW. By default this is set to show a period of two years, ending with the most recent month and year available.

The start and end year for data in the table can be changed by selecting the blue drop down menu at the top left of the table pane or the white drop down menu located next to the location text box.

Previous regional selections are visible at the top of the table, highlighted in blue. Further selections can be made by clicking the relevant row, or searching within the region field. The geography type (e.g. suburb, postcode, or LGA) can also be changed from the location field. Only one geography type can be viewed at a time; previous selections will disappear if the geography type is changed.

Graphs: show the same information as in the Table or Rate Map, but depicted in graphical form (as either a trend, column, or pie graph).

Each graph is interactive allowing you to see the rate and trend information for each region you have selected. The trend graph also gives you the option of viewing rate per 100,000 population and trend data by month, and the pie graph contains additional filters allowing you to view the data based on type of premises, time of week, time of day, and whether or not the incident was alcohol related.

Hotspot map: show areas with a high level of clustering or density of criminal incidents relative to crime concentrations across NSW. Hotspots are not adjusted for the number of people residing in or visiting the region and so do not necessarily reflect areas where people have a higher than average risk of victimisation. You can use either the scroll wheel on the mouse or the zoom buttons in the bottom right hand corner of the map (indicated by + and -) to zoom in and out of areas on these maps. Note that this feature is offence dependent and will only show on the top bar of the tool when an applicable crime has been selected.

For more information on hotspot maps please see our 'Understanding crime hotspot maps' publication.


Which browser should I use?

This tool works with Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer version 11 or above. We recommend the Google Chrome internet browser for best results. If you currently have Internet Explorer 10 or lower and wish to use this application, please upgrade your browser to version 11 or above. We do not guarantee the tool's performance on browsers other than the three mentioned.

Why can't I see the hotspots tab?

Hotspots are only available for certain offences. If you cannot see the tab it means this feature is not available for that offence. 

Why can't I see any data?

If the tool does not return any data in your table, please clear your browsing history and try again. If this does not correct the issue, please contact us for assistance (email or phone +61 2 8346 1100).

What data can I print and how can I print it?

The graphs, tables and maps can all be printed from within the tool. Select the printer icon on the top right hand corner.

For best results when printing the maps, please ensure that you set the page layout to 'landscape' orientation (rather than 'portrait'). If you wish to print your map along with hover bubble text pop ups and boundaries, you can either 'Print screen' from your keyboard or you can use screen shot software (e.g. Snipping Tool)

How frequently is the data updated?

BOCSAR releases recorded crime data four times a year, generally in April, June, September and December. To ensure crime data is as accurate, valid and reliable as can be we release data three to four months after the current quarter (e.g. in September data ending June for that year is released). 

Please note that the tool displays and operates slightly differently in different internet browsers (e.g. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer). To ensure you are receiving the most recent crime data available, please clear your browsing history before running your data queries.

Can I change the date range?

The data is displayed in 12 monthly periods ending with the most recent month and year available. If you wish to look at crime trends at an earlier point in time (e.g. the 5 year trend ending 2010) you can change the year using the drop down menu located to the left of the location text box (top right of the tool). The end month will always be what is reflected in the most recent data available (e.g. if the latest data available is April 2019 to March 2020, then the earlier time periods available will also be for the April to March; you cannot, for example, change it to October to September).

Why is there no data for my selected region in the graphs?

If no data is shown for a region it is because either no incidents of that crime type were recorded, or the population for that region is too small to reliably calculate rates. This can be verified in the table view, with not calculable (n.c.) usually recorded for such data. On the rate maps, low populations are indicated by a cross-hatch pattern.

Why are all my regional selections not showing on the pie graph? 

The pie graph will only show data for the last region selected. If comparisons are required you will have to select, view and download or print the pie graph for each region, one region at a time. Alternatively you can use the column or trend graphs.

How is the rate information calculated?

Rates are calculated using population data provided by Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Within the Crime Mapping Tool, the rates on the maps, tables and column and pie graphs are for 12 monthly periods. Rates on the trend graph and for trend tests are for monthly periods. Monthly rates are calculated by applying the corresponding ABS population to the monthly count and then multiplying the result by 100,000. Rates for 12 monthly periods are calculated by adding together the rates for each month in the 12 month period of interest (e.g. the 12 month rate for January 2019 to December 2019 is calculated by adding together the monthly rates for January 2019, February 2019, March 2019, up to December 2019). For more information on rate, please see the BOCSAR glossary

Who can I contact for further information?

If you have any questions or require assistance in using this application, or have feedback for how we can improve this application, please email or phone +61 2 8346 1100.