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Mapping crime data in R: An introduction to GIS and spatial data

13 Feb 2024 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Data skills

Do you want to display crime data on maps but don’t know how?

Crime data often contains spatial components. As a result, analyses of crime data can create patterns that are clearly linked to geography. Naturally, putting the data or analysis on a map makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, if you have never matched statistical data to spatial data then you may not know how easy it can be to make beautiful data maps!

That’s where these free workshops come in. The aim of the workshops is to teach participants to use the R statistical and graphical environment to map open-source police recorded crime statistics onto geographic representations.

This is the first of two free Mapping crime data in R workshops and will cover some fundamental theories and concepts surrounding GIS and spatial data. The second session will be a live code demonstration using R to explore these concepts.

More specifically, in this session, we will:

  • use R packages such as ggplot, sf and tmaps
  • briefly explore open-source crime data
  • introduce how to download, import and use spatial data in the form of shapefiles
  • demonstrate how to join crime data to shapefiles
  • introduce classification methods
  • use census data to accurately map crime rate
  • briefly explore the use of multivariate analyse methods


This workshop is suitable for intermediate (or higher) users of R but there is no need to have experience with GIS software or spatial data. Users should be comfortable with how to set the working directory in R, how to read in data, how to write basic R functions and how to save scripts and output files.

Level: (higher) intermediate

Experience of R: Yes. R and Rstudio must be already installed and working

Knowledge of GIS/Spatial Data: None

Target audience: Researchers/anyone interested in crime and spatial data

Coding material and further instructions will be available mid-January via our GitHub page

Presenter: Nadia Kennar

We will be using Mentimeter to ask questions in this workshop so you may benefit from having a second device ready for this, such as a smartphone.

This event will be livestreamed on our UK Data Service YouTube channel but the chat will be disabled. By registering and attending the Zoom event you will be able to ask questions and interact.

Recordings of UK Data Service events are made available on our YouTube channel and, together with the slides, on our past events pages soon after the event has taken place.