Greyfriars Road has been named the worst street for crime and anti-social behaviour in Cardiff according to an online crime map released by the home office today.
The map shows instances of vehicle crime, violent crime, burglary, robbery and anti-social behaviour in many of the Cardiff’s popular night spots.
The interactive map uses information collected by South Wales Police during December 2010 when there were 100 crimes on Greyfriars Road, 22 of which were of a violent nature.
Simon Wakefield, Liberal Democrat councillor for Cathays, said: "I think the high crime rates are down to the clubs, and people having scuffles outside while waiting for taxis in the night and the early hours of the morning."
Gareth Jones, bartender at Fat Cat Café Bar on Greyfriars Road said: "We do not really see much trouble ourselves, but we do see it outside. I don't think people avoid Greyfriars Road or see it as a dangerous place. There is a high police presence, which might mean that more incidents get noticed - in other areas they might get played off as 'boys will be boys'.
Greyfriars Road was followed closely by St Mary Street, where there were 96 crimes, 18 of which were violent.
Other areas notable for their high crime figures include Mill Lane (77), Kingsway Street (54) and Charles Street (50).
The Home Office’s map allows users to browse crime and anti-social behaviour data on a street-by-street basis and was introduced as part of the government's efforts to make local authority spending more transparent.
ACC Julian Kirby of the South Wales Police Territorial Policing department said: “Street-level crime information will enable people in Wales to have greater access to local crime information so they can see what has been happening on their streets.
“The initiative will make South Wales Police more accountable to local people, helping to fulfil our commitment to the communities we serve.”
But within just a few hours of going online, the site became inaccessible to the public after high volumes of users caused it to crash. At time of writing it remains unavailable.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We have experienced extremely high demand, over 45 million hits an hour and we are working on fixing the site.”
The site also makes information available to smartphone software developers, who in the past have used similar statistics to build apps which alert users when they enter an area with high crime rates.
Professor Gary Higgs at the University of Glamorgan's Centre of Excellence in Mobile Applications and Services said: “Crime mapping had been around for quite some time, the only difference is that this is drilling down to a local level. It’s big in the States but this is the first time it’s come to a street level in the UK. It used to be just police forces who had this information.”
Professor Higgs added certain areas may be stigmatised, while his colleague Professor Khalid Al-Begain said: “Technology-wise, it is very clever. Socially, it will have to be monitored if it is to be better understood. I believe there will have to be studies on the impact on things like housing prices.