Crime Science

Published by Springer Nature

Online ISSN: 2193-7680


Preliminary Monte Carlo simulations of linear accelerators in Time-of-Flight Compton Scatter imaging for cargo security
  • Article

June 2013


52 Reads

Nick Calvert



The economic impact of illicit trade is in the trillions of dollars per year, with a proportion of this trade concealed within cargo containers. The interdiction of this trade relies upon efficient and effective external screening of cargo containers, typically using x rays. The present work introduces a technique of x-ray screening that aims to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of x-ray screening. Traditional X-ray screening of cargo containers is performed using high-energy (MV) transmission imaging or low-energy (kV) Compton scatter imaging to provide two-dimensional images. Two-dimensional images can contain complex, overlapping objects and require significant experience and time to interpret. Time-of-Flight information can be used in conjunction with Compton scatter imaging to provide information about the depth of each Compton scatter interaction, leading to three-dimensional images, reducing false positives and image analysis time. The expected Time-of-Flight from photons scattered back from a set of objects is well defined when the photons are produced with a delta-type (infinitely narrow) pulse duration, however, commercially available linear accelerators used for cargo screening typically have pulse widths of the order of 1 μs. In the present work, the possible use of linear accelerators for Time-of-Flight Compton scatter imaging is investigated using a mixture of analytic and Monte Carlo methods. Ideal data are obtained by convolving a number of wide x-ray pulses (up to 5 μs) with the expected Time-of-Flight from a set of objects using a delta-type pulse. Monte Carlo simulations, using Geant4, have been performed to generate x-ray spectra produced by a linear accelerator. The spectra are then used as the input for detailed Monte Carlo simulations of the Time-of-Flight of photons produced by a single linear accelerator pulse scattering back from a set of objects. Both ideal and Monte Carlo data suggest that Time-of-Flight information can be recovered from a wide linear accelerator pulse, provided that the leading and falling edge of the pulse are sharp. In addition, it has been found that using a linear accelerator leads to double the amount of Time-of-Flight information as both the leading and falling edge are utilised (unlike for a delta-type pulse).

Figure 1: Rank order plots of make-model car types stolen and observed in street-based surveys in three Los Angeles zip codes. (A) Cars stolen in zip codes 90034, 90045 and 90291 between Jan 1, 2003 and December 31, 2004 are numerically dominated by a few car types. (B) The rank order abundance of car types in the same zip codes, observed in street surveys conducted in 2004 and 2005, reveals the structure of car theft opportunities.
Figure 4: Break-in times for UK make-models measured by the “WhatCar?” Security Supertest in 2000 and 2003. (A) Scatter plot of break-in time versus US market price implies only a weak relationship between payoffs and handling costs. Frequency histograms of the break-in times for (B) GM-, Daimler-Chrysler- and Ford-group cars and (C) all other car types.
Environmentally abundant cars of low theft rank in zip codes 90034, 90045 and 90291 and the aggregated 2000 and 2003 "WhatCar?" Security Supertest results for cars from the corresponding manufacturers
Break-in times in seconds for Daimler-Chrysler, Ford and GM brands sold in the UK tested in the "WhatCar?" Security Supertest in 2000 and 2003
Prey selection among Los Angeles car thieves
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  • Full-text available

December 2013


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More than 63,000 cars were reported stolen in Los Angeles in 2003–04. However, the distribution of thefts across car types is very uneven. Some cars types such as the Honda Civic were stolen at much higher frequencies than the majority of car types. Charnov’s classic prey selection model suggests that such uneven targeting should be related to variations in the environmental abundance, expected payoffs, and handling costs associated with different car types. Street-based surveys in Los Angeles suggest that differences in abundance explain the majority of thefts. Cars stolen despite being rare may reflect offender preference based on differential payoffs, probably in some non-monetary currency such as prestige or excitement. Differential handling costs play a more ambiguous role in target selection, but may underlie thieves’ decisions to ignore some cars common in the environment. The unspecialized nature of car theft in Los Angeles suggests that the behavioral and cognitive capacities needed to be a successful car thief are generic. The evolved capacity to solve foraging problems in boundedly-rational ways, mixed with small amounts of trial-and-error and/or social learning, are sufficient to produce experts from inexperienced thieves.

Figure 1 t start and t end are broadly homogeneous in different geographical areas.
Figure 2: The distribution of                t                     actual             is broadly unimodal around the median time of 15:22 hours.
Table 3 Sample characteristics
Table 6 Optimal four-hour deployment period
Table 7 Comparison of the final and original samples
A comparison of methods for temporal analysis of aoristic crime

May 2013


284 Reads

Objectives To test the accuracy of various methods previously proposed (and one new method) to estimate offence times where the actual time of the event is not known. Methods For 303 thefts of pedal cycles from railway stations, the actual offence time was determined from closed-circuit television and the resulting temporal distribution compared against commonly-used estimated distributions using circular statistics and analysis of residuals. Results Aoristic analysis and allocation of a random time to each offence allow accurate estimation of peak offence times. Commonly-used deterministic methods were found to be inaccurate and to produce misleading results. Conclusions It is important that analysts use the most accurate methods for temporal distribution approximation to ensure any resource decisions made on the basis of peak times are reliable.

Opportunity makes the thief. Really? And so what?

December 2012


1,000 Reads

Background This paper describes the work undertaken over many years by the author and colleagues concerning the role of opportunity in crime. The work began in the early 1970s in the Home Office Research Unit, the British government’s criminological research department. Discussions The work supported a preventive approach – situational crime prevention – that was highly contentious in the criminology of the day because it sought to reduce opportunities for crime, rather than to modify offender propensities. Critics claimed that situational crime prevention would displace rather than reduce crime because they assumed that opportunity merely determines the time and place of crime, but does not cause it. Summary This paper describes the difficulties in establishing that opportunity is cause of crime and why this took so long. It reviews the research that was undertaken to this end, and it summarizes the benefits for criminology and crime policy of accepting that opportunity does cause crime.

Characteristics and associated factors of self-reported sexual aggression in the Belgian population aged 16–69
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  • Article
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September 2023


24 Reads

Sexual violence is a major public health, societal, and judicial problem worldwide. Studies investigating the characteristics of its perpetrators often rely on samples of convicted offenders, which are biased by low reporting and conviction rates. Based on a self-report study in the Belgian general population aged 16 to 69 (n = 4687), we provide lifetime and past-year prevalence rates of sexual aggression and report the characteristics of the events, including type, target, and the applied coercion strategies. Future research should use behaviourally specific questions that take the perpetrator’s perspective into account to limit interpretation ambiguity which could reduce unintentional non-disclosure of sexual aggression.

Anti-theft Signage Placed in Treatment Classrooms (A4 page size)
The new normal of web camera theft on campus during COVID-19 and the impact of anti-theft signage

October 2021


104 Reads

Objective The opportunity for web camera theft increased globally as institutions of higher education transitioned to remote learning during COVID-19. Given the thousands of cameras currently installed in classrooms, many with little protection, the present study tests the effectiveness of anti-theft signage for preventing camera theft. Methods Examined web camera theft at a southern, public university located in the United States of America by randomly assigning N = 104 classrooms to receive either anti-theft signage or no signage. Camera theft was analyzed using Blaker’s exact test. Results Classrooms not receiving anti-theft signage (control) were 3.42 times more likely to exhibit web camera theft than classrooms receiving anti-theft signage (medium effect size). Conclusions Using classrooms as the unit of analysis presents new opportunities for not only future crime prevention experiments, but also improving campus safety and security. Also, preventing web camera theft on campus is both fiscally and socially responsible, saving money and ensuring inclusivity for remote learners.

Routine activity effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on burglary in Detroit, March, 2020

June 2020


1,204 Reads

Abstract The spread of the coronavirus has led to containment policies in many places, with concomitant shifts in routine activities. Major declines in crime have been reported as a result. However, those declines depend on crime type and may differ by parts of a city and land uses. This paper examines burglary in Detroit, Michigan during the month of March, 2020, a period of considerable change in routine activities. We examine 879 block groups, separating those dominated by residential land use from those with more mixed land use. We divide the month into three periods: pre-containment, transition period, and post-containment. Burglaries increase in block groups with mixed land use, but not blocks dominated by residential land use. The impact of containment policies on burglary clarifies after taking land use into account.

Exploring regional variability in the short-term impact of COVID-19 on property crime in Queensland, Australia

March 2021


325 Reads

Confronted by rapidly growing infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths, governments around the world have introduced stringent containment measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. This public health response has had an unprecedented impact on people’s daily lives which, unsurprisingly, has also had widely observed implications in terms of crime and public safety. Drawing upon theories from environmental criminology, this study examines officially recorded property crime rates between March and June 2020 as reported for the state of Queensland, Australia. We use ARIMA modeling techniques to compute 6-month-ahead forecasts of property damage, shop theft, residential burglary, fraud, and motor vehicle theft rates and then compare these forecasts (and their 95% confidence intervals) with the observed data for March through to June. We conclude that, with the exception of fraud, all property offence categories declined significantly. For some offence types (shop stealing, other theft offences, and residential burglary), the decrease commenced as early as March. For other offence types, the decline was lagged and did not occur until April or May. Non-residential burglary was the only offence type to significantly increase, which it did in March, only to then decline significantly thereafter. These trends, while broadly consistent across the state’s 77 local government areas still varied in meaningful ways and we discuss possible explanations and implications.

Histograms showing residence-to-crime distance in miles for crimes occurring in a Midwest suburb before, during, and after a Stay-at-Home order was enacted (2018–2020). Densities, rather than frequencies, are shown for comparison
Monthly changes in median residence-to-crime distance (line chart; left axis; error bars indicate 25th and 7th percentiles) for N = 2926 crimes occurring in Midwest suburb (2018–2020). The Safer-at-Home order was in place March 25, 2020 through May 13, 2020, illustrated by the grey-shaded box
A multilevel examination of the association between COVID-19 restrictions and residence-to-crime distance

November 2022


29 Reads

Unlabelled: Restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted people's daily routine activities. Rooted in crime pattern and routine activity theories, this study tests whether the enactment of a Safer-at-Home mandate was associated with changes in the distance between individuals' home addresses and the locations of where they committed crimes (i.e., residence-to-crime distance). Analyses are based on violent (N = 282), property (N = 1552), and disorder crimes (N = 1092) reported to one police department located in a United States' Midwest suburb. Multilevel models show that residence-to-crime distances were significantly shorter during the Safer-at-Home order, compared to the pre- and post-Safer-at-Home timeframes, while controlling for individual and neighborhood characteristics. Additionally, these relationships varied by crime type. Consistent with the literature, the findings support the argument that individuals tend to offend relatively near their home address. The current findings extend the state of the literature by highlighting how disruptions to daily routine activities stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic led to alterations in crime patterns, in which analyses indicated shorter distances between home address and offense locations. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s40163-022-00172-1.

The U-shaped crime recovery during COVID-19: evidence from national crime rates in Mexico

June 2021


167 Reads

The existing empirical evidence suggests a reduction in aggregate crime as a consequence of the COVID-19 lockdown. However, what happens when lockdown measures are relaxed? This paper considers how the COVID-19 pandemic affects crime rates throughout Mexico when the stay-at-home orders end. We use national crime data from Mexico’s National Public Security System, which reports municipality-level rates on assault & battery, theft & property crime, fraud, drug crimes & extortion, and homicides. Our results show that the majority of crimes follow a U-shaped trend—when the lockdown ends—crimes rise back to pre-pandemic levels.

Projected and actual crime rates for 8 crime types with 95% confidence intervals (lower = Min, upper = Max). First row left a Outdoors assault; First row right, b Personal robberies; Second row left, c Indoors assault; Right d Residential burglary; Third row left e Commercial burglaries; Third row right f Pickpocketing; Last row left g Narcotics; Last row right h Vandalism
Minor covid-19 association with crime in Sweden

October 2020


163 Reads

The covid-19 disease has a large impact on life across the globe, and this could potentially include impacts on crime. The present study describes how crime has changed in Sweden during ten weeks after the government started to implement interventions to reduce spread of the disease. Sweden has undertaken smaller interventions than many other countries and is therefore a particularly interesting case to study. The first major interventions in Sweden were implemented in the end of week 11 (March 12th) in the year 2020, and we analyze police reported crimes through week 21 (ending May 24th). Descriptive statistics are provided relative to expected levels with 95% confidence intervals for eight crime types. We find that total crime, assaults, pickpocketing and burglary have decreased significantly, personal robberies and narcotics crime are unchanged. Vandalism possibly increased somewhat but is hard to draw any firm conclusions on. The reductions are fairly small for most crime types, in the 5-20% range, with pickpocketing being the biggest exception noting a 59% drop relative to expected levels.

Fig. 1 Malayan or Sunda Pangolin, Manis javanicus
Trafficked pangolins seized by customs officials. Top: thousands of slaughtered pangolins await burning in a pit after being seized by Indonesia National Police and Wildlife Conservation Society’s Wildlife Crimes Unit (29 April, 2015). Photograph by Paul Hilton. Bottom: Chinese customs officials seize 13.1 tons of pangolin scales from up to 30,000 individual pangolins at the port of Shenzhen (29 November, 2017). Photograph by Echo Huang
In the post-COVID-19 era, is the illegal wildlife trade the most serious form of trafficking?

September 2021


497 Reads

J. Sean Doody






Nichole Mattheus
Despite the immense impact of wildlife trafficking, comparisons of the profits, costs, and seriousness of crime consistently rank wildlife trafficking lower relative to human trafficking, drug trafficking and weapons trafficking. Using the published literature and current events, we make the case, when properly viewed within the context of COVID-19 and other zoonotic diseases transmitted from wildlife, that wildlife trafficking is the most costly and perhaps the most serious form of trafficking. Our synthesis should raise awareness of the seriousness of wildlife trafficking for humans, thereby inducing strategic policy decisions that boost criminal justice initiatives and resources to combat wildlife trafficking.

The impact of the COVID-19, social distancing, and movement restrictions on crime in NSW, Australia

October 2021


77 Reads

The spread of COVID-19 has prompted Governments around the world to impose draconian restrictions on business activity, public transport, and public freedom of movement. The effect of these restrictions appears to vary from country to country and, in some cases, from one area to another within a country. This paper examines the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions imposed in New South Wales (NSW) by the State Government. We examine week-to-week changes in 13 categories of crime (and four aggregated categories) from 2 January 2017 to 28 June 2020. Rather than using the pre-intervention data to make a forecast and then comparing that with what is actually observed, we use a Box-Jenkins (ARIMA) approach to model the entire time series. Our results are broadly in accord with those of other studies, but we find no effect of the lockdown (upward or downward) on domestic assault. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s40163-021-00160-x.

Weekly recorded domestic abuse crimes: Panel A All recorded domestic abuse crimes; Panel B Percentage committed by former partner; Panel C Percentage identified as multiple incident crimes
Domestic abuse in the Covid-19 pandemic: measures designed to overcome common limitations of trend measurement

June 2023


38 Reads

Unlabelled: Research on pandemic domestic abuse trends has produced inconsistent findings reflecting differences in definitions, data and method. This study analyses 43,488 domestic abuse crimes recorded by a UK police force. Metrics and analytic approaches are tailored to address key methodological issues in three key ways. First, it was hypothesised that reporting rates changed during lockdown, so natural language processing was used to interrogate untapped free-text information in police records to develop a novel indicator of change in reporting. Second, it was hypothesised that abuse would change differentially for those cohabiting (due to physical proximity) compared to non-cohabitees, which was assessed via a proxy measure. Third, the analytic approaches used were change-point analysis and anomaly detection: these are more independent than regression analysis for present purposes in gauging the timing and duration of significant change. However, the main findings were largely contrary to expectation: (1) domestic abuse did not increase during the first national lockdown in early 2020 but increased across a prolonged post-lockdown period, (2) the post-lockdown increase did not reflect change in reporting by victims, and; (3) the proportion of abuse between cohabiting partners, at around 40 percent of the total, did not increase significantly during or after the lockdown. The implications of these unanticipated findings are discussed. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s40163-023-00190-7.

Functional and dysfunctional fear of COVID-19: a classification scheme

February 2021


158 Reads

Worry about COVID-19 is a central topic of research into the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this paper, we present a new way of measuring worry about catching COVID-19 that distinguishes between worry as a negative experience that damages people’s quality of life (dysfunctional) and worry as an adaptive experience that directs people’s attention to potential problems (functional). Drawing on work into fear of crime, our classification divides people into three groups: (1) the unworried, (2) the functionally worried (where worry motivates proactive behaviours that help people to manage their sense of risk) and (3) the dysfunctionally worried (where quality of life is damaged by worry and/or precautionary behaviour). Analysing data from two waves of a longitudinal panel study of over 1000 individuals living in ten cities in England, Scotland and Wales, we find differing levels of negative anxiety, anger, loneliness, unhappiness and life satisfaction for each of the three groups, with the dysfunctionally worried experiencing the most negative outcomes and the functionally worried experiencing less negative outcomes than unworried. We find no difference between groups in compliance and willingness to re-engage in social life. Finally, we show a difference between the dysfunctionally worried compared with functional and unworried groups in perceptions of risk (differentiating between likelihood, control and consequence). This finding informs what sort of content-targeted messaging aimed at reducing dysfunctional worry might wish to promote. We conclude with some thoughts on the applicability of our measurement scheme for future research.

Fig. 1 Heat map of the emergency incidents in the first half of 2020 in Antwerp with selected points of interests
Fig. 2 Proportion differences phase 0 and phase L2, 2020
Bivariate robust global similarity indices for non-zero event street segments (2020)
Bivariate robust global S-indices for all non-zero street segments, a mutual comparison of the phases in 2019 and 2020
The impact of strict measures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic on the spatial pattern of the demand for police: case study Antwerp (Belgium)

September 2021


74 Reads

COVID-19 impacts the daily lives of millions of people. This radical change in our daily activities affected many aspects of life, but acted as well as a natural experiment for research into the spatial distribution of 911 calls. We analyse the impact of the COVID-19 measures on the spatial pattern of police interventions. Crime is not uniformly distributed across street segments, but how does COVID-19 affect these spatial patterns? To this end, Gini coefficients are calculated and a proportion differences spatial point pattern test is applied to compare the similarity of the patterns of incidents before, during, and after the first lockdown in Antwerp, Belgium. With only essential mobility being allowed, the emergency call pattern has not significantly changed before, during or after this lockdown, however, a qualitative shift in police officer’s daily work may have had an effect on the daily operation of the Antwerp police force.

Fig. 1 Daily counts of the variables of interest from Jan. 1 to May 24, 2020, compared with the counts observed between 2017 to 2019
Fig. 3 Percentage reduction in total crime and public transport passenger numbers observed between Feb. 29 to May 24, 2020, compared to counterfactual estimates based on ARIMA forecasting models
Descriptive statistics for the variables of interest
Daily counts of crimes and public transport passenger numbers from Jan. 1 to May 24, 2020 compared to counterfactual estimates based on ARIMA models estimated using data from Jan. 1, 2017 to Feb. 28, 2020
Estimated percentage change in daily crime rates for a 68.1% reduction in daily passenger numbers, using three time periods
Crime and COVID-19: effect of changes in routine activities in Mexico City

June 2021


141 Reads

Background This study aimed to determine whether crime patterns in Mexico City changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to test whether any changes observed were associated with the disruption of routine activities, as measured by changes in public transport passenger numbers. Method The first objective was assessed by comparing the observed incidence of crime after the COVID-19 pandemic was detected in the country with that expected based on ARIMA forecasts based on the pre-pandemic trends. The second objective was assessed by examining the association between crime incidence and the number of passengers on public transport using regressions with ARIMA errors. Results Results indicated that most crime categories decreased significantly after the pandemic was detected in the country or after a national lockdown was instituted. Furthermore, the study found that some of the declines observed were associated with the reductions seen in public transport passenger numbers. However, the findings suggested that the changes in mobility explain part of the declines observed, with important variations per crime type. Conclusion The findings contribute to the global evaluation of the effects of COVID-19 on crime and propose a robust method to explicitly test whether the changes observed are associated with changes in routine activities.

Percentage differences between expected and observed numbers of waste incidents (with drop-bars for 95% confidence intervals), December 2019–July 2020
Monthly counts of recorded fly-tipping incidents for 2017, 2018, 2019 and January–July 2020
Changes in fly-tipping incidents in urban, semi-rural and rural areas, January–July 2020 (per 10,000 residents)
Boxplots of monthly changes in local authorities in 2020 relative to 2019
Concentration of fly-tipping by area type
Illegal waste fly-tipping in the Covid-19 pandemic: enhanced compliance, temporal displacement, and urban–rural variation

September 2022


92 Reads

Objective Illegal dumping of household and business waste, known as fly-tipping in the UK, is a significant environmental crime. News agencies reported major increases early in the COVID-19 pandemic when waste disposal services were closed or disrupted. This study examines the effect of lockdowns on illegal dumping in the UK. Method A freedom of information request was sent to all local authorities in the UK asking for records of reported incidents of fly-tipping for before and after the first national lockdown. ARIMA modelling and year-on-year comparison was used to compare observed and expected levels of fly-tipping. Urban and rural local authorities were compared. Results A statistically significant decline in fly-tipping during the first lockdown was followed by a similar increase when lockdown ended. The effects largely cancelled each other out. There was pronounced variation in urban–rural experience: urban areas, with higher rates generally, experienced most of the initial drop in fly-tipping while some rural authorities experienced an increase. Conclusion Waste services promote compliance with laws against illegal dumping. When those services were disrupted during lockdown it was expected that fly-tipping would increase but, counter-intuitively, it declined. This enhanced compliance effect was likely due to increased perceived risk in densely populated urban areas. However, as lockdown restrictions were eased, fly-tipping increased to clear the backlog, indicating temporal displacement.

PwPMI Calls During COVID-19 Pandemic
Absolute Cumulative Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on PwPMI Calls
The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health calls for police service

October 2021


84 Reads

Drawing upon seven years of police calls for service data (2014-2020), this study examined the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on calls involving persons with perceived mental illness (PwPMI) using a Bayesian Structural Time Series. The findings revealed that PwPMI calls did not increase immediately after the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Instead, a sustained increase in PwPMI calls was identified in August 2020 that later became statistically significant in October 2020. Ultimately, the analysis revealed a 22% increase in PwPMI calls during the COVID-19 pandemic than would have been expected had the pandemic not taken place. The delayed effect of the pandemic on such calls points to a need for policymakers to prioritize widely accessible mental health care that can be deployed early during public health emergencies thus potentially mitigating or eliminating the need for increased police intervention, as was the case here. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s40163-021-00157-6.

Impeding Lone-Wolf Attacks: Lessons Derived from the 2011 Norway Attacks

November 2013


87 Reads

Lone-wolf terrorism is often more difficult to detect through intelligence due to limited communication between plotters. This study addresses this problem by spelling out an alternative method for impeding such attacks. It combines crime scripts, situational crime prevention and rational planning to study how to impede attacks such as the 2011 Norway attacks. Analyzing the transport issues in these attacks demonstrates that some sort of entry control and measures facilitating the evacuation in case of prolonged attacks might reduce the harm.

Counterfeits on dark markets: a measurement between Jan-2014 and Sep-2015

October 2023


18 Reads

Counterfeits harm consumers, governments, and intellectual property holders. They accounted for 3.3% of worldwide trades in 2016, having an estimated value of $509 billion in the same year. Estimations in the literature are mostly based on border seizures, but in this paper, we examined openly labeled counterfeits on darknet markets, which allowed us to gather and analyze information from a different perspective. Here, we analyzed data from 11 darknet markets for the period Jan-2014 and Sep-2015. The findings suggest that darknet markets harbor similar counterfeit product types to those found in seizures but that the share of watches is higher while the share of electronics, clothes, shoes, and Tobacco is lower on darknet markets. Also, darknet market counterfeits seem to have similar shipping origins as seized goods, with some exceptions, such as a relatively high share (5%) of dark market counterfeits originating from the US. Lastly, counterfeits on dark markets tend to have a relatively low price and sales volume. However, based on preliminary estimations, the equivalent products on the surface web appear to be advertised for a multiple of the prices found for darknet markets. We provide some suggestions on how information about darknet market counterfeits could be used by companies and authorities for preventative purposes, showing that insight gathering from the dark web is valuable and could be a cost-effective alternative (or compliment) to border seizures. Thus, monitoring darknet markets can help us understand the counterfeit landscape better.

Spatio-temporal models of relative risks (A) and growth rates (B) of total crime in Opole, Poland, from 2015 to 2019. The maps are thematically represented by the arbitrary equidistant ranges of crime risk levels to show their spatial risk diversity (left map) and changes over times (right map), respectively. If the RR or GR of observed/expected value is significantly smaller (p < 0.05) than 1.0 = 100% (horizontally hatched units), then there is said to be a “moderate risk”, whereas if RR/GR > 1.0 (vertically hatched areas), then we are dealing with an “excessed risk” of crime. The overlapping of both of the same type of hatched surfaces reveals cold and hot-spots of space and time crime risks documented in the next thematic maps in Fig. 2
Cold-spots and hot-spots of total crime in Opole, Poland, in the years 2015–2019. The map in A is the result of the overlap of the same vertical or horizontal hatched surfaces representing territories with significantly moderate (p < 0.05) or excessive crime risks in space and over time, respectively (documented in the previous thematic maps in Fig. 1). In turn, in B, the most significant difference in crime rates per reference population is shown between cold and hot-spot areas found in the combined spatio-temporal Bayesian approach
Overlapped Bayesian spatio-temporal models to detect crime spots and their possible risk factors based on the Opole Province, Poland, in the years 2015–2019

May 2023


85 Reads

Unlabelled: Geostatistical methods currently used in modern epidemiology were adopted in crime science using the example of the Opole province, Poland, in the years 2015-2019. In our research, we applied the Bayesian spatio-temporal random effects models to detect 'cold-spots' and 'hot-spots' of the recorded crime numbers (all categories), and to ascertain possible risk factors based on the available statistical population (demographic), socio-economic and infrastructure area characteristics. Overlapping two popular geostatistical models in the analysis, 'cold-spot' and 'hot-spot' administrative units were detected which displayed extreme differences in crime and growth rates over time. Additionally, using Bayesian modeling four categories of possible risk factors were identified in Opole. The established risk factors were the presence of doctors/medical personnel, road infrastructure, numbers of vehicles, and local migration. The analysis is directed toward both academic and police personnel as a proposal for an additional geostatistical control instrument supporting the management and deployment of local police based on easily available police crime records and public statistics. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s40163-023-00189-0.

Spatial distribution and developmental trajectories of crime versus crime severity: do not abandon the count-based model just yet

November 2022


116 Reads

Purpose/background A new body of research that focuses on crime harm scores rather than counts of crime incidents has emerged. Specifically in the context of spatial analysis of crime, focusing on crime harm suggests that harm is more concentrated than counts, at the level of crime hot spots. It remains presently unclear what drives the concentration distributions, and whether the count-based model should be abandoned. Methods Cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of 6 year of spatiotemporal crime data in Toronto, Canada, to compare patterns and concentration of crime harm (measured in terms of the Crime Severity Index (CSI) against crime counts. Conditional probabilities, trajectory analyses, power few concentrations, and spatial Global Moran’s I are used to infer generalised trends from the data. Findings Overall CSI and crime counts tend to exhibit similar concentrations at the spatial micro levels, except against-the-body crimes such as violence which seems to drive nearly all the variations between the two measurement types. Violence harm spots tend to be more dispersed citywide and often do not remain constant year-to-year, whereas overall crime hotspots are more stable over time. Nevertheless, variations in disproportionally high crime hot spots are associated with total variations in crime, with as little as 1% increase in crime levels in these hot spots translating into substantial overall gains in recorded crime citywide. Conclusions Abandoning count-based models in spatial analysis of crime can lead to an incomplete picture of crime concentrations. Both models are needed not just for understanding spatial crime distributions but also for cost-effective allocation of policing resources.

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