A murder map of South Africa [interactive]

I’ve long wanted to experiment with mapping crime in South Africa but this has largely been impossible since the police statistics don’t give us much to work with. Crimes are reported at policing district level and at provincial level making it pretty impossible to do anything particularly useful with them.

This week I asked the incredibily helpful Lizette Lancaster, the project manager of the Institute for Security Studies Crime and Justice Hub, if she could assist my Media24 Investigations team with producing a special query on the police statistics which would show various crime categories at a precinct level by population.

I thought it would be interesting to see which were the most dangerous places in South Africa for murder and so on. The idea came to me from the insanely brilliant Crimehub site that the ISS have built which allows you to see crime information at a very local level and which tracks stats going back to 2004. I highly recommend this site for any journalist who is serious about data; it is probably the best implementation of this concept I have seen anywhere on the web.

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Our bite of Wikileaks’ treasure trove of US diplomatic cables

When Wikileaks started making noises about releasing 250,000 US diplomatic cables from around the world, I was immediately fascinated. I have a long-standing interest in diplomacy and how government’s interact with each other behind the scenes after studying International Relations for a spell while working in London and working for a short while as a diplomatic correspondent for the Sunday Times in Pretoria on my return from London.

The Wikileaks stash promised to be a treasure trove of stories and insight into such affairs.

Of course, there was also the promise of some really fascinating stories about South Africa as US diplomatic missions have been active and intimate with South Africa’s affairs for decades. Continue reading

Africa’s mobile map and the questions it raises

This is an interesting visualisation showing numbers of mobile phone subscribers in each country.
You can see how South Africa performs way above the norm for Africa and, in fact, challenges plenty of other more developed markets. What is also interesting is how South Africa’s mobile penetration is almost double that of Egypt – yet when it comes to internet access per capita Egypt far outstrips South Africa. Continue reading