Wednesday, 15 February 2012

New Simulation Paper in CRIMINOLOGY

Daniel Birks, Michael Townsley and Anna Stewart have just published the first (?) agent-based simulation paper in the renowned CRIMINOLOGY journal entitled "Generative Explanations of Crime: Using Simulation to Test Criminological Theory". The paper is a brilliant example of a simple agent-based model which is able to test how three key theories in Environmental Criminology influence patterns of burglary.

The abstract is

This study demonstrates that computational modeling and, in particular, agent-based modeling (ABM) offers a viable compatriot to traditional experimental methodologies for criminology scholars. ABM can be used as a means to operationalize and test hypothetical mechanisms that offer a potential explanation for commonly observed criminological phenomena. This study tests whether the hypothesized mechanisms of environmental criminology are sufficient to produce several commonly observed characteristics of crime. We present an ABM of residential burglary, simulating a world inhabited by potential targets and offenders who behave according to the theoretical propositions of environmental criminology. A series of simulated experiments examining the impact of these mechanisms on patterns of offending are performed. The outputs of these simulations then are compared with several well-established findings derived from empirical studies of residential burglary, including the spatial concentration of crime, repeat victimization, and the journey to crime curve. The results from this research demonstrate that the propositions of the routine activity approach, rational choice perspective, and crime pattern theory provide a viable generative explanation for several independent characteristics of crime.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

FutureICT Crime Exploratory

As part of a much larger European funding initiative, the FutureICT project is proposing to use ICT, Complexity Science and the Social Sciences to understand and manage complex, global, socially interactive systems, with a focus on sustainability and resilience. One project in particular, the Crime Exploratory, is highly relevant as it aimed to set up a pan-European crime modelling and data mining observatory, under the EU Collaborative projects and Coordination and Support Actions (CPCSA) funding stream.

Andy Evans recently attended the first CrimeExploratory meeting in Rome to present our work, and got to hear a series of interesting talks from crime modellers from across Europe, including discussions of the financial systems of organised crime, datamining of human trafficking data, and the tricky problem of modelling morality. The talks should be available on the project website soon.

Monday, 23 January 2012

New research website

I've just made a new website for my research:

I will continue to update this blog with crime simulation information though as soon as the project starts up again (shouldn't be long..). In the meantime I have been re-building the simulation from the ground up (e.g. the RepastCity project is a highly simplified version used for teaching urban modelling)