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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