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I offer a wide range of photographic services at affordable rates.

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Safety In Numbers

Please Note: The following is advice and does not ensure your safety. Just because you are in an affluent low crime area does not mean you are automatically safe. Please stay aware of your surroundings and if you feel worried or unsure of your safety then leave. You can always come back with company or security another day. Your safety must come first.

Part of my job requires me to visit places that I have never been before. Some of these locations are low risk areas with very low crime rates. However when working in redevelopment areas the crime rates are usually higher than those found when photographing in fields in the middle of nowhere.

The problem is that you don't easily know how "bad" an area is before visiting it. Creating a metric for measuring how dangerous the area is has been difficult. What I now do is use the Neighbourhood Watch website https://www.ourwatch.org.uk to get a feel for the crime rates and the relative danger of working in that area. In the past I have had a few close calls and know several people working in related disciplines who haven't been as lucky.

To use the Neighbourhood Watch website click on the following link which will open in a new window Crimes around Guildford. Type in the postcode for the site and click Search, this will then calculate the number of Reported Crimes (RC) within one mile of the site. This gives us a standard area and allows us to make comparisons between different locations, in most cases it will also cover the majority of photographic viewpoints required for a site.

It is up to you to decide at what point you feel that the crime rate is above a safe level for what you are doing. My personal level for the job I do is 650, if there were more than 650 reported crimes per month, recently (last 3-6 months), within a mile of the site then I include the price of a security guard in the quote. If I was just passing through and grabbing the occasional shot with a camera phone then I would blend into the background and may choose a higher number. For a Verified View image I need to set up a tripod, start taking equipment out of my high-vis rucksack and then have to wait for the shot and the light to be right, all of which makes me stand out from the crowd. The longer you are on site and the more visible you are the higher the chance of trouble finding you which is why I picked that number. However this isn't the entire story. Reported crime isn't the only thing that may make you want to have security or company with you when you visit a site.

One of the lower scoring locations was Scunthorpe or more accurately the post code DN17 1PS. However it is also the place that I had one of my closest calls. When you are out and about carrying a rucksack and a tripod you expect to draw some attention from curious locals, for want of a better description, the curtain twitchers. This is an expected part of the job and the worst that they usually do is call the police because "there's a strange guy taking photos of the mosque, motorway bridge or outside the school", all of which have happened. Then there are those who are actively watching, that make the hairs rise on the back of your neck, that just stand out because they aren't acting "normally". Scunthorpe was one of those.

I wasn't sure why things went the way they did as it seemed to be a fairly "safe" area with a low reported crime rate until I looked a little deeper. If you plug the postcode into the following website 2019 English Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) map. The data is generated from information gathered in 2019 from the 32,844 neighbourhoods in England. Most of the area around DN17 1PS have a fairly average Deprivation Ranking (DR) but there is a band that falls into the top 10% of the most deprived neighbourhoods in England. DN17 1PS was in fact ranked 400/32,844 which means only 1.2% of other English neighbourhoods are more deprived. The page above contains a control panel that allows you to enter a postcode. Below the postcode is an IMD Score slider (which is somewhat confusing). In the middle of the graduated slider is a row of dots, everything to the right of that row is in the "top 10%" of most deprived areas. If you change the left slider so they so that it reads 37.42 then only the most deprived areas will be marked on the map, the darker the area the more deprived. If you hover over the coloured neighbourhoods you can see information about that location and if it says "Decile 1" then it is in the top 10% of most deprived areas. Once again you need to work out at what point you feel that the area may not be safe, personally if the area falls within the top 10% then my quote will include a charge for security. Using the colour coded map allows you to easily check areas you may be passing through as you move between viewpoints.

The only practical problem once you have a map and a set of locations to visit is how do you find out the postcode that are 500m from the site? You can use the post office find a postcode service. Or use UK Postcode Map, type in the postcode of the site and then move the map around until the crosshairs at the center of the map are where you want to take the picture from. After a short search it generates the estimated postcode under the map.

Here are some examples of values for various areas, the Reported Crimes (RC) are for April 2018 and the Deprivation Rank (DR) is from the most recent statistics (at time this page published) and is for 2015. The postcodes are for the train station at that location or centre of town if there is no station. The Deprivation Ranking starts with the most deprived neighbourhood at 1 and least deprived at 32,844.

Location - Postcode (RC) - Reported Crimes within 1 mile 04/2018 (DR) - Deprivation Ranking - % of neighbourhood in England more deprived (2015)
Aldgate East - E1 7RA 2632 2,409 = 7.3%
Barnstaple - EX31 2AU 222 19,873 = 60.5%
Braintree - CM7 3DZ 355 18,614 = 56.7%
Bristol - BS1 6QF 1492 5,590 = 17.0%
Brixton - SW9 8HE 1548 3,074 = 9.3%
Cambridge - CB1 7ED 561 19,789 = 60.3%
Canvey Island - SS8 0JG 256 6,144 = 18.7%
Castleford - WF10 5BL 365 5,784 = 17.6%
Chichester - PO19 8DL 250 20,344 = 61.9%
Colchester - CO1 1XD 426 20,735 = 63.1%
Coventry - CV1 2GT 597 13,260 = 40.3%
Cowes - PO31 7BX 77 11,861 = 36.1%
Derby - DE1 2RU 1022 235 = 0.7%
Dunstable - LU6 3HA 489 12,572 = 38.3%
East Putney - SW15 2SZ 543 24,422 = 74.4%
Guildford - GU1 4UT 407 23,440 = 71.4%
Harpenden - AL5 4SP 148 30,560 = 93.0%
Hayes - UB3 4FL 464 9,569 = 29.1%
Hinckley - LE10 1UE 212 11,607 = 35.3%
Hove - BN3 3RX 507 6,094 = 18.6%
Kilsby - CV23 8XD 3 18,591 = 56.6%
King's Lynn - PE30 1NS 356 6,152 = 18.7%
Lancing - BN15 9HH 115 16,805 = 51.2%
Leeds - LS1 4LD 1590 15,050 = 45.8%
Lincoln - LN5 7EW 680 1,202 = 3.7%
Lower Sydenham - SE26 5BN 400 5,686 = 17.3%
Old Trafford - M16 0RA 365 8,060 = 24.5%
Oxford - OX1 1HS 398 22,757 = 69.3%
Portsmouth - PO1 1EH 1172 3,580 = 10.9%
Queslett - B43 7HA 164 11,622 = 35.4%
Scunthorpe - DN17 1PS 214 400 = 1.2%
Seaford - BN25 2AS 105 18,232 = 55.5%
Sileby - LE12 7UW 45 23,153 = 72.4%
South Oxhey - WD19 5EY 153 20,716 = 63.1%
Tunbridge Wells - TN1 1BT 319 21,691 = 66.0%
Weymouth - DT4 7BN 451 1,673 = 5.1%
Whitwell - SG4 8BN 9 22,500 = 68.5%
York - YO24 1AY 730 14,032 = 42.7%

Interested in learning more?

If you've looked through my site and have any questions, I'd be glad to help you. You can contact me on my mobile on 07801 103635 or send me an E-mail and I will get back to you as soon as I can.