(guardian.co.uk) Guardian data project reveals link between economic hardship and those taking part in last week’s riots.
Based on unprecedented access to information from magistrates courts across England, the Guardian’s data project gives a new insight into the riots, shedding light on those accused of involvement, from their age and gender to the length of sentences being handed down.
The data also highlights geographical differences during last week’s unrest. In London, the evidence suggests rioters often looted shops and businesses in or near the areas where they lived. In cities such as Manchester and Birmingham, in contrast, the data appears to indicate that suspects travelled from their homes on the outskirts of the cities, or in some cases satellite towns, to riot and loot in the city centres.
One of the most striking features to emerge is the proportion of those who have appeared in court so far who come from deprived neighbourhoods.
A Liverpool University urban planning lecturer, Alex Singleton, analysed the Guardian’s preliminary data by overlaying the addresses of defendants with the poverty indicators mapped by England’s Indices of Multiple Deprivation, which breaks the country into small geographical areas.
He found that the majority of people who have appeared in court live in poor neighbourhoods, with 41% of suspects living in one of the top 10% of most deprived places in the country. The data also shows that 66% of neighbourhoods where the accused live got poorer between 2007 and 2010.