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What is crime science?

Publication date: Nov 19, 2010 09:56 AM

Start: Dec 01, 2010 10:30 AM
End: Dec 01, 2010 12:00 PM

Location: Brook House, UCL

Speaker: Nick Ross
Audience: SECReT students

Nick Ross image

Nick Ross, noted broadcaster and host of BBC’s Crimewatch programme for 23 years, engaged the SECReT students in a discussion about the meaning of ‘crime science’. Nick is credited on Wikipedia as the person who conceived and coined the term ‘crime science’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_Science) , and, in 2001, following the murder of his Crimewatch co-host Jill Dando, helped set up the Jill Dando Trust which funded the UCL Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, the first university department in the world devoted specifically to reducing crime (and the department out of which UCL SECReT has now been established). Nick focused his discussion on a recent docu-study that he carried out, in the town of Oxford looking at the prevalence of crime in the town centre, examining how many types of crime either go unreported or are misreported.

The study was aired as a three-part documentary by the BBC called ‘The Truth about Crime.’ In interviews about the documentary Nick concluded “Gun crime is very rare in Britain and most of us are very unlikely to encounter knife crime. What we did discover was how concern for headlines has overshadowed something much more common in terms of quality of life, and that's antisocial behaviour – which can be really debilitating.”

Nick also talked about how he might approach cutting crime: “ . . . taking a scientific approach, looking at numbers and patterns and then looking for ways of disrupting those patterns. Take drunken assaults. Very few people walk around with a knife, but in a pub there’s lots of glass, so when an argument gets out of hand that’s what’s used. One of those ways is for pubs to use polycarbonate glasses on match days.”