Research Details

Leading Indicators and Spatial Interactions: A Crime Forecasting Model for Proactive Police Deployment


Based on crime attractor and displacement theories of environmental criminology, this paper specifies a leading indicator model for forecasting serious property and violent crimes. The model, intended for support of tactical deployment of police resources, is at the micro-level scale; namely, one-month-ahead forecasts over a grid system of 104 square grid cells 4,000 feet on a side (with approximately 100 blocks per grid cell). The leading indicators are selected lesser crimes and incivilities entering the model in two ways: 1) as time lags within grid cells and 2) time and space lags averaged over contiguous grid cells of observation grid cells. The validation case study uses 1.3 million police records including 16 individual crime types from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania aggregated over the grid system for a 96 month period ending in December 1998. The study uses the rolling-horizon forecast experimental design with forecasts made over the 36 month period ending in December 1998, yielding 3,774 forecast errors per forecast model.

Publication Year: 2004
Type: Working Paper
Working Paper Number: 7

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