University of Leicester Applied Mathematics undergraduate students have been researching hot and cold spots of crime to hunt for patterns about just why crime is lower in some areas than others.
Much criminological research of the past has focused on hot spots (high crime areas), but we know less about why crime might be lower in some places – and the logic is if we can find out, we might be able to replicate that desirable state.
EMPAC’s Professor John Coxhead explains that although the Peelian principles of policing emphasised the importance of the prevention and detection and crime (in that order), and actually advocated the pursuit of the absence of crime, not enough focus has been placed upon prevention, and that should be the focus of future research wherever possible.
To help crack the code of crime prevention, who better to scan multiple open source data than applied mathematics students, whose skill is being able to help solve real-world problems by making sense of the myriad of numbers out there.
University of Leicester Professor Sergei Petrovskii, a Professor of Applied Mathematics and a specialist in the modelling of natural phenomena, supervised the four students – Jasmine Kaur, Menna Elbeltagi, Finley Cull and Alexander Indge – during their exploration of crime patterns in Leicester and Nottingham.
The group found correlations around lower crime rate areas and the predominance of schools, and for the future suggest further research explores correlations and causations about age, deprivation and housing.
EMPAC congratulations the students on their pioneering work and encourages others in every university, in every subject, to explore our better understanding of how to keep society safer in the future.
Watch the student presentation of findings to date here.