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International Crime and Intelligence Analysis Conference 26-27 February 2015, Manchester: Call for abstracts


SCS News

Understanding Theft of 'Hot Products'. Problem-Oriented Guides for Police, COPS, US Department of Justice

The Problem-Oriented Guides for Police summarize knowledge about how police can reduce the harm caused by specific crime and disorder problems. They are guides to preventing problems and improving overall incident response, not to investigating offenses or handling specific incidents. More...

Copper Cable Theft - Revisting the Price- Theft Hypothesis

To test the commonly espoused but little examined hypothesis that fluctuations in the price of metal are associated with changes in the volume of metal theft.

Consistency and specificity in burglars who commit prolific residential burglary: Testing the core assumptions underpinning behavioural crime linkage

Behavioural crime linkage is underpinned by two assumptions: (a) that offenders exhibit some degree of consistency in the way they commit offences (their modus operandi [MO]); and, (b) that offenders can be differentiated on the basis of their offence behaviour. The majority of existing studies sample at most three crimes from an offender's series of detected crimes and do not examine whether patterns differ across offenders. Here, we examine patterns observed across the entire detected series of each sampled offender, and assess how homogeneous patterns are across offenders. More...

Human trafficking for labour exploitation: Innovative approaches to prevention, prediction and protection

Dr Ella Cockbain has recently been awarded a prestigious Economic and Social Research Council Future Research Leaders Fellowship. The award is for a three-year study into trafficking for labour exploitation, under the mentorship of Professor Kate Bowers. The project is designed to improve understanding of and responses to labour trafficking, which is a recognised priority in the Home Office’s counter-organised crime strategy and research agendum. Key foci include assessing the scope, nature and impacts of labour trafficking and developing predictive models of risk, using empirically-substantiated individual- and area-level risk factors. A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods will support a nuanced, multi-faceted assessment of this complex issue. The study will include a three-month international placement at the Netherlands Centre for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement. The project has the support of the UK Human Trafficking Centre, the National Crime Agency and the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings. More...

An exploratory study of the sexual exploitation of boys and young men in the UK

We are pleased to announce UCL’s participation in a Nuffield-funded study into the sexual exploitation of boys and young men. UCL is working with Barnardo’s and NatCen Social Research on this collaborative project, designed to find out more about the characteristics of male victims, their exploitation and support needs. This scoping study is the first of its kind in the UK to focus specifically on male victims. UCL researchers are conducting a large-scale analysis of over 9,000 suspected CSE cases (led by UCL’s principal investigator Dr Ella Cockbain) and an evidence assessment (led by Dr Helen Brayley). Our partners at NatCen (the consortium lead) are conducting in-depth interviews with professionals. We are working with young people and practitioners to receive feedback on our findings. The study is expected to inform responses to male victims, who have often been overlooked in research, policy and practice. More...

About Us

About Us

The Department of Security and Crime Science has its origins in the Jill Dando Institute (JDI). Jill Dando was a British television journalist who co-hosted the programme Crime Watch. In 1999 she was murdered, and her co-presenter of Crime Watch, Nick Ross, launched a public appeal to set up an institute devoted to crime prevention. The institute bearing her name was established at UCL in 2001 under the Directorship of Professor Gloria Laycock. 

Click here to view Professor Laycock's inaugural lecture, delivered on 26 April 2001: “Scientists or politicians – who has the answer to crime?”

In 2009, the Department of Security and Crime Science was established at UCL as a separate entity from JDI in order to facilitate the offering of post-graduate taught and research courses. JDI still exists as a research institute that spans UCL, drawing expertise from many other university departments with an interest in security and crime reduction.

Crime science is a radical departure from the usual ways of thinking about and responding to the problem of crime and security in society. The distinct nature of crime science is captured in the name.

First, crime science is about crime. Traditional criminological approaches are concerned largely with criminality, focussing on distant causes such as poverty, social disadvantage, parenting practices, and school performance. In contrast, crime scientists are concerned with near causes of crime – why, where, when, by whom, and how a particular offence is committed. They examine ways in which the immediate situation provides opportunities and provocations that account for the highly patterned distribution of crime events.

Second, crime science is about science. Many traditional responses to controlling crime are unsystematic and based on untested assumptions about what works. In contrast, crime science is an evidence-based, problem-solving approach that embraces empirical research. Adopting the scientific method, crime scientists collect data on crime, generate hypotheses about crime patterns and trends, and build testable models to explain observed findings.

Crime science is practical in its orientation and multidisciplinary in its foundations. Crime scientists actively engage with front-line criminal justice practitioners to reduce crime by making it more difficult for individuals to offend, and making it more likely that they will be detected if they do offend. Many disciplines contribute to the crime science agenda, including, criminology, sociology, psychology, geography, architecture, industrial design, epidemiology, computer science, mathematics, engineering, and biology. 

Please click here to view a video outlining crime science.

This video provides a brief background about crime science and the ways in which this emerging discipline is impacting on a better approach to crime reduction. Highlights from the video include research on how crime may 'migrate' like a disease - thus allowing us to predict where crime may next occur, and innovation to create an anti-theft bike. Practitioners from police and security agencies also give their views on crime science.

Page last modified on 04 nov 10 14:00