UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science


Geographical analysis

Crime has an inherent geographical quality - it occurs at a location.  More importantly, it occurs at some types of places (but not others) with regularity. Understanding the role that location plays in the occurrence of crime can offer vital clues about how to prevent crime and how to catch offenders swiftly.

Our primary interest is to improve how geographical analysis is used to understand crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour.  Our interests include the development of geographical analysis techniques to help better understand patterns of victimisation, offender mobility, recidivism and terrorism.  Research also concerns the utility of mapping and spatial technologies for police forces, Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs), and other intelligence/crime reduction professionals.

Our activities are widely recognised by practitioners and others in the research community.  We host the National Crime Mapping Conference, were the primary authors of the ACPO NPIA Analysis of Geographic Information Workbook, and run numerous GIS-based courses on analytical techniques, including our partnered course with the NPIA on Geographic Profiling Analysis.  Our research has been funded by a number of sponsors including the Home Office (e.g. geographical analysis into stop and search activity, prospective mapping), British Academy (space-time analyses of crime, and insurgency in Iraq), ESRC (mapping prisoner re-entry), and EPSRC (modeling global dynamics - a multidisciplinary project across UCL led by Sir Alan Wilson, CASA).

Staff members involved in these activities also act as consultants for national, local, and overseas initiatives. This includes our contribution to the ACPO Geographic Information Board, our consultative support to CSPs, and our work with law enforcement agencies in the USA, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, China, Australia and New Zealand. 

Research group

Browse our researchers, including full profile and links to publications.

  • Professor Kate Bowers
  • Dr Spencer Chainey
  • Dr Toby Davies
  • Professor Shane Johnson
  • Dr Lisa Tompson

PhD students

  • Joanna Hill: Agent-based modelling of animal poaching
  • Miranda Simon: Migration networks, immigration policy, and individual decision-making: A complex systems experimental approach

Current projects

Completed projects

    Impact and reviews