Thursday, 19 June 2008

Presentation: Realistic Crime Simulation.

I recently attended a workshop at the National Centre for e-Social Science Fourth International Conference and gave a short presentation entitled "Realistic Crime Simulation: Predicting crime rates through a sound model of offender behaviour coupled with an accurate virtual environment" (it can be downloaded from my School of Geography webpage). The abstract is as follows:

Understanding the relationship between crime and the environment is an important research area in criminology. However, human systems are highly complex and influenced by a huge number of individual components, complex spatio-temporal interactions and human decisions which are at best complex and at worst seemingly irrational. As with other human systems, the complexity of the crime system, therefore, makes it extremely difficult to understand and predict crime patterns and to generate effective crime reduction policies.

To credibly model crime it is essential to be able to model the complex, dynamic interactions of the individuals and their environment which constitute a crime event. However, most studies to date suffer from an inability to model these micro-level interactions. Agent-based modelling is a methodology which works from the “bottom-up” and is able to capture emergent phenomena such as city-wide crime patterns which are built up from a multitude of individual crime occurrences. Such techniques are becoming very popular in the fields of urban studies in geography, but are still rarely used in criminology or by policy makers.

This paper will present an advanced agent-based model which couples a realistic framework for modelling offender behaviour with an accurate GIS virtual environment using the Repast Simphony toolset. We will use the model to evaluate and predict the success of genuine crime reduction scenarios implemented in the city of Leeds.