New initiatives combat crime with open data

The finalists of a new programme to develop innovative ideas to tackle crime and encourage social justice using open data have been announced by the Open Data Institute (ODI) and Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation.

The Open Data Challenge Series is a two year programme that looks to find solutions to social issues through challenge prizes. The first challenge prize focused on crime and justice. Each of the finalists was asked to create market-ready businesses that could increase community involvement with the criminal justice system, create further evidence for what are effective interventions for rehabilitation or address the rise in personal crime.

The three winning business ideas are:

Stolen Bikes UK

An online platform that allows consumers to find out whether the bike they wish to purchase is stolen or not. This project will use open data provided by the police and commercial companies and could potential prevent £126m worth of stolen goods entering the bike market each year

Stolen Bikes UK

Total Car Check

An online platform for buyers to check if criminal activity has taken place on a vehicle before purchase. The platform will make it easier to find stolen vehicles, give buyers clear instructions on how to report them and decrease the cost of vehicle history checks. To launch this service, Total Car Check have put together benefits cases for both the DVLA bulk data set and stolen vehicle data set.

Total Car Check

Deaf Justice

A new app to help the 11 million deaf people in the UK contact emergency services to report a crime. It currently takes a deaf person seven times as long to report a crime than a hearing person. This new app would make the process a lot easier for deaf people to access emergency services. This project will access geo-location data to create the app.

Deaf Justice

Prizes of £5,000 each have been awarded to the finalists. They will now be supported by the Open Data Institute and Nesta to develop their projects who will give them access to relevant expertise and mentoring. Throughout the next phase of development, they will measure the impact of their projects.

The finalists were selected at a weekend hack event that enabled participants to test their products and pitch their ideas to the judging panel. An overall winner will be chosen at the end of February and will receive a £40,000 prize.

The ODI's Stuart Coleman said:

It’s great to see such a range of people and ideas that use open data. The challenge approach means that we are seeing ideas that are unique, innovative and most importantly, bringing positive benefits to peoples’ daily lives. These aren’t pie in the sky concepts but practical uses of open data which could deliver huge social and economic value.

The Open Data Challenge Series is a two-year programme run by the ODI and Nesta and funded by BIS to solve social challenges using open data resources. It encourages individuals and organisations to work with data providers, industry experts and business leaders to develop ways of using open data sets to create new business opportunities.

The collaboration between the Open Data Institute and Nesta, will continue with six further series including Energy and the Environment, and Personal Data. The next Creation and Innovation weekends will take place in January 2014. For more information the Open Data Challenge Series webpage.

Audio interviews with all seven teams can be found here: