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Published: 12 December 2019

Surrey Centre for Criminology launches

On 11th December 2019 we hosted our first event as the Surrey Centre for Criminology. Members of the centre outlined some of the key research activities that the centre is involved with, before we welcomed Professor Graham Farrell to deliver a keynote address on the international crime drop. 

Professor Ian Brunton-Smith welcomed attendees and provided a general overview of the centres activities. Research is organised around three strategic themes – analytic criminology, technology crime and control, and Issues in Criminal Justice. - poster (pdf)

Dr David Lloyd provided an overview of recent activities in analytic criminology, bringing together experts in mathematics and criminology to help address real world crime problems. This includes work with Surrey Police to improve their forecasting algorithm for high harm offenders, development of Bayesian approaches to identify crime hotspots, and work to uncover covert network structures. – slides (pdf)

Dr Mike McGuire outlined some of his recent research providing new ways to conceptualise the cybercrime by examining the broader cyber-economy. This includes work to quantify the full extent of involvement in cybercrime, considering the data platforms where offenders can sell their technologies, and highlighting the full range of online activities that are often hidden from view. 

Dr Daniel McCarthy then discussed the range of work in criminal justice that has been undertaken. In policing, this includes research on police support for officers that have suffered physical and psychological injury. Prisons research has engaged with the effect of the prison context on the rehabilitation of offenders, as well as the role that family members can play. He also outlined work has on crime prevention in a post-austerity world, drug networks, and technology enhanced court activity. – slides (pdf)

 

Finally Professor Graham Farrell delivered a keynote address outlining his research on the international crime drop. 

The International Crime Drop and the Security Hypothesis   

Many crime types declined dramatically in developed countries across the last three decades. For instance, the Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that between 1993 and 2018, the rate of car theft declined 90 percent, burglary by three quarters and violence by two-thirds. Once-popular juvenile crimes such as joyriding are effectively extinct. Around 20 explanations have been scientifically investigated and most largely falsified. In recent years, the security hypothesis has emerged as a front runner, supported by strong evidence that different types of security device reduced different types of property crime with little or no displacement. The decline in violence has been proposed to be a knock-on benefit due to the removal of the key volume crimes and reduced juvenile involvement. Moreover, it is proposed that the best security evolves to become more elegant and socially acceptable – the unobtrusive, ethical, aesthetically neutral, default option. This talk will review the story of the crime drop, the explanations and evidence, and the implications. The extent and significance of the crime drop is such that, should the security hypothesis prove robust, a wholesale revision of the understanding of crime and crime policy may well be needed. 

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