Research synopsis: Complex systems approaches to issues in crime and security
Complex systems approaches to issues in crime and security
This research concerns the mathematical modelling and
analysis of issues related to security and crime. Such issues involve
many factors, interacting in non-trivial ways, and as such are
well-suited to treatment as complex systems and the use of associated
tools. By attempting to model these factors, often using insight from
quantitative social science, and their interactions, the aim is to
provide a more thorough and well-rounded understanding of the mechanisms
underlying security issues. This is done using techniques such as
agent-based modelling and game theory, alongside more traditional
differential-equation-based modelling. There is also particular emphasis
upon applications of complex network theory to this area, where
techniques originating in graph theory can be used.
A large section of the research is focussed on modelling
spatio-temporal patterns of crime at the urban level, with specific
focus on how this is influenced by the urban backcloth and layout of
cities. A simulation-based approach is used to explore various
criminological theories and mechanisms and to analyse the effect of
changes to the backcloth or direct interventions.
Other topics to be explored include large-scale civil disorder, modelled using anologies with systems in other fields, such as retail and epidemiology, and the social network analysis of criminal organisations and their intra-group communication patterns.