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Hi there,

Our next edition of Conversations with Data will be featuring data journalism on the crime beat. We're looking for input from data journalists -- of any skill level -- about their experiences using data to tell stories about criminal justice. Whether it's your top sources of crime data, mistakes or lessons you've learnt on this beat, or advice for crime newbies, please share below!

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I guess the first piece of advice is to understand the difference between the two key pieces of crime data: 1) data on recorded crime, and 2) data on experiences of crime. The second type of data is important because many crimes don't get reported, and particular types of crime are more under-reported than others.

Also, recorded crime is often poorly recorded/reported. This story by my BBC colleague Dan Wainwright illustrates some of the concerns about the quality of crime data (and also explains more about the crime survey): https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46894162

2 key takeaways: it's important to be accurate in your use of language - talk about "50% of crimes reported to the police" rather than "50% of crimes", for example.

And secondly, seek out multiple sources of crime data if that's relevant to the story. Remember that police data may not be the only data there is, look for crime surveys and also things like sentencing data. 

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