(Looking) Back to the Future: using space-time patterns to better predict the location of street crime

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Title (Looking) Back to the Future: using space-time patterns to better predict the location of street crime
Author Tompson, Lisa; Townsley, Michael Kenneth
Journal Name International Journal of Police Science and Management
Year Published 2010
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Vathek Publishing
Abstract Crime analysts attempt to identify regularities in police recorded crime data with a central view of disrupting the patterns found. One common method for doing so is hotspot mapping, focusing attention on spatial clustering as a route to crime reduction (Chainey & Ratcliffe, 2005; Clarke & Eck, 2003). Despite the widespread use of this analytical technique, evaluation tools to assess its ability to accurately predict spatial patterns have only recently become available to practitioners (Chainey, Tompson, & Uhlig, 2008). Crucially, none has examined this issue from a spatio-temporal standpoint. Given that the organisational nature of policing agencies is shift based, it is common-sensical to understand crime problems at this temporal sensitivity, so there is an opportunity for resources to be deployed swiftly in a manner that optimises prevention and detection. This paper tests whether hotspot forecasts can be enhanced when time-of-day information is incorporated into the analysis. Using street crime data, and employing an evaluative tool called the Predictive Accuracy Index (PAI), we found that the predictive accuracy can be enhanced for particular temporal shifts, and this is primarily influenced by the degree of spatial clustering present. Interestingly, when hotspots shrank (in comparison with the all-day hotspots), they became more concentrated, and subsequently more predictable. This is meaningful in practice; for if crime is more predictable during specific timeframes, then response resources can be used intelligently to reduce victimisation.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1350/ijps.2010.12.1.148
Copyright Statement Copyright 2010 Vathek Publishing Ltd. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Volume 12
Issue Number 1
Page from 23
Page to 40
ISSN 1461-3557
Date Accessioned 2011-01-25
Language en_AU
Research Centre ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security
Faculty Arts, Education and Law
Subject Law and Legal Studies
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/36910
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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