Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Testing Transport Routes and Burglary

I have recently run some tests with transport routes in my burglary simulation and have some nice results. The image shows what happens when a simulated burglar has to walk around (left) and when they're given a access to public transport (right). These are purely hypothetical simulations, but it shows some of the potential of the model.

When the agent has to walk between their friend's house, drug dealer and their home, they are able to explore more of the city on the way. This gives them a much greater knowledge of the area when they need to commit a burglary.

When they use public transport to travel, on the other hand, they do not explore the surrounding area as they would do if they were walking. Therefore the burglaries are much more clustered around their anchor points (home address, friend's house and drug dealer).

Although this is a simple result I'm hoping that this type of experiment will be very useful when trying to predict real burglary rates.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

New paper: Prototype Burglary Simulations For Crime Reduction and Forecasting

I have recently had a paper jointly authored with Patricia L. Brantingham, published in the journal Crime Patterns and Analysis, available online.

The journal introduces prototype version of the burglary simulation model and also illustrates some preliminary burglary predictions in an area of Leeds, UK. As the image below demonstrates, the early results are promising; the model is able to relatively accurately recreate crime patterns found in the real data.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Scientific Computing World Article

Felix Grant has just published an interesting article in Scientific Computing World about how statistical approaches have been applied to the social sciences (crime in particular) and how agent-based modelling is being used. He also does a short case-study on my PhD research.

If you're interested you can read the article on the scientific computing world website or on Felix's blog.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Crime Mapping Conference Presentation

I recently presented a paper entitled "Using Simulation to Predict Prospective Burglary Rates in Leeds and Vancouver" at the 7th National Crime Mapping Conference, 7th-8th May 2009 in Manchester, UK. The conference was a great success as usual, bringing together people from all areas of the police, community safety and academia.

The presentation briefly outlined the burglary simulation and showed some initial results. Here is the abstract and slides.

The following image is an extract of the burglary hotspots which were produced by the Vancouver Sky Train scenario. In this scenario I was experimenting with adding and removing Sky Train lines (a high-speed urban rail link) from Vancouver, Canada. When the simulation has been configured correctly we would like to predict what effect the new Canada Line (which is being build to support the 2010 winder Olympics) willl have on burglary rates in the city.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Simulation case studies in Vancouver

In January - February this year I was able to visit the Institute for Canadian Urban Research Studies (ICURS) at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, to work with expert criminologists Pat and Paul Brantingham. I was able to run a prototype of my simulation on Vancouver to see how crime rates might change if a new rapid-transit rail line was built.

There is a short presentation which has lots of information about how I used the Vancouver data to configure the model and the results of the case studies themselves. As an example, the following figure illustrates how space syntax analysis can be used to estimate how busy a road might be and therefore how easy it would be for a burglar agent to gain access to a property without being seen by passers-by.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Simulating Burglary - Working Paper

I have just finished a working paper entitled "Simulating Burglary with an Agent-Based Model", available here. It reports some results of my initial burglary prototype. This model uses relatively simple burglar agents and a grid-based virtual environment but is a good introduction to the more complex model that I'm developing for my PhD.

The following video shows an early prototype in action. The burglar agents are yellow and other people (home owners) are blue. Initially some of the burglars go to work in the green area, but often employment doesn't provide them with enough money and they choose to burgle instead. This is a vast simplification of real behaviour and will be improved in later developments, but works well as a proof-of-concept prototype.