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


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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...

Melanie Wellsmith

Research Students

Address: UCL Department of Security and Crime Science, 35 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9EZ
Phone No: +44(0)1484 473068
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Melanie has an LLB (Hons) in Law from the University of Derby and an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Loughborough University. She was a Special Constable (volunteer police officer) in Derbyshire for two and a half years and then worked for three years as a crime analyst in Sussex before joining the JDI Crime Science Lab upon its launch. Since then she has completed the JDI-delivered Certificate in Crime Prevention and Community Safety.

Whilst at the Lab, Melanie has worked on projects including local burglary analysis, offender self-selection, stolen property and market effects on theft rates. She is now looking at the spatial and temporal patterns of crime, particularly in relation to crime attractors and generators and is working towards a PhD (part-time) in this area. Melanie is also working on analyses of cars stolen in burglaries and drunkenness and violence associated with licensed premises and the night-time economy. Her research focuses on environmental criminology and opportunity theories, situational crime prevention and the links between crime and the design of premises and everyday practices. Outside these fields she is interested in the management of non-incarcerated sex offenders, criminal law and defences, serial offending, policing practices and crime analysis.

For further information about Melanie please click here.

Exploring Crime Concentrations within Facilities

Duration: April 2005 to September 2011 (includes 1 year interruption of studies)


It is now well established that crime concentrates across a number of dimensions, including space. This appears to occur at all levels of aggregation, although most research has been carried out at the macro (town, region) or meso (problem estate, hot spot, neighbourhood) level. There are far fewer studies of micro level crime concentrations. Further, the research on crime attractors and generators is theoretically and empirically questionable. Recent work on ‘risky facilities’ (Eck et al., 2007) begins to address the former issue, but raises two further questions. Firstly, what is the relationship between crime attractors, generators and risky facilities? Secondly, to what degree does crime concentrate within risky premises and can studying such micro environments help further explain their existence?Drawing on environmental criminology and opportunity theories, this study aims to pursue these two questions and, as such, is split into two parts, with two sets of research questions.

Part I – Untangling Crime Attractors, Generators and Risky Facilities

  1.  Which types of facility contribute the greatest amount of police recorded crime?
  2. Within a homogenous set of facilities, do some premises account for a disproportionate amount of crime (i.e. are ‘risky facilities’)?
  3. Do risky premises exist across a range of facilities and a range of crime types?
  4. What is the relationship between a crime attractor, crime generator and risky facility and how useful are these concepts?

Part II – Analysing Micro Environments: A case study approach

  1. To what extent are spatial (and temporal) crime concentrations apparent at the micro level (within facilities)?
  2. Can spatial (and temporal) crime concentrations at the micro level be explained by routine activity theory?
  3. How are such crime concentrations affected by the environmental backcloth?
  4. How useful is micro-analysis to environmental criminology and crime prevention?

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