Wednesday, 12 June 2013

New RA Job at UCL: “Agent-based simulation of crime and citizens with proactive policing”

Just came across this new job at UCL which might be relevant to people interested in agent-based modelling and crime simulation.

"Applicants are invited for a Research Associate position based at the UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (CEGE). The successful applicant will work as part of a team on an exciting multi-disciplinary project – examining Crime, Policing and Citizens (CPC) and their interaction in space-time networks. The successful candidate will create and maintain a Greater London wide database of police activities, classified by location, and relate these to (policing relevant) citizen characteristics and activities.
The post is available from 1st October and is funded for 2.5 years in the first instance."

Friday, 12 April 2013

Crime Simulation and Genetic Algorithms

I recently presented a paper at the GISrUK conference about using a genetic algorithm to calibrate a model and to better understand the behaviour of simulated burglars.

Slides are available here: GISrUK 2013 Presentation and the abstract is here: GISrUK 2013 Abstract.

The aim of the work is to use an artificial intelligence algorithm to calibrate the behaviour of virtual burglars, bringing model results more in line with observed burglary patterns. As well as improving the accuracy of the model, the process might tell us something about the underlying human behaviour. The model is built on the ideas of Routine Activity Theory, the Rational Choice Perspective and the Geometric Theory of Crime. If the genetic algorithm finds that certain types of agent behaviour do not help to improve the accuracy of the burglary model, then this might tell us something about the applicability of the theories to the real world.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Crime Simulation with SimCity

The new SimCity game is causing quite a stir among the agent-based modelling community. Its simulation engine (called GlassBox) is basically an agent-based model which allows individual sims to behave independently and build up to larger city-wide patterns (such as pollution, population happiness, traffic, etc.) This has already been used to model new road designs in Manchester (see this post).

Importantly, the game includes an add on called "Heroes and Villians" which  could have a use in crime simulation. It seems to focus mostly on comic book style crime fighters and mob bosses, but might have the potential to simulate some interesting crime patterns. Given the success in simulating traffic, this might well be a useful tool. It will be interesting to see how it pans out and whether or not it can be used for more than just playing games.  

For anyone interested, the developers of the game have also released a video showing how the simulation engine works. It's an excellent example of an agent-based model.

(Thanks to Andrew Crooks and Ed Manly for pointing me to SimCity and the Manchester work).