Modeling the Spread of Crime

Cube proposed by: Carl Simon

Unit: LSA: Natural Sciences

About this project: 
Our goal is to begin a long-run project to construct and analyze mathematical and computer models of the spread of crime, and in the process learn much about the costs and benefits of various interventions. We have begun constructing fundamental abstract mathematical models of the spread of crime and found interesting relationships among the models parameters, especially the effects of increased prison terms and enforcement. We also have derived analytic formulas for the tipping points that separate high-crime from the no-crime and low-crime equilibria. We will use these models as foundations for more complex models of the spread of crime, including adding heterogeneity to age, race, and socio-economic status, to the kinds of crimes under study, to the nuances of the punitive and non-punitive interventions, and to the evolution of crime and anti-crime strategies. These more complex models will require agent-based models for their analysis.