Simulating Offender Mobility: Modeling Activity Nodes from Large-Scale Human Activity Data

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Raquel Rosés
Cristina Kadar
Charlotte Gerritsen
Ovi Chris Rouly


In recent years, simulation techniques have been applied to investigate the spatiotemporal dynamics of crime. Researchers have instantiated mobile offenders in agent-based simulations for theory testing, experimenting with crime prevention strategies, and exploring crime prediction techniques, despite facing challenges due to the complex dynamics of crime and the lack of detailed information about offender mobility. This paper presents a simulation model to explore offender mobility, focusing on the interplay between the agent's awareness space and activity nodes. The simulation generates patterns of individual mobility aiming to cumulatively match crime patterns. To instantiate a realistic urban environment, we use open data to simulate the urban structure, location-based social networks data to represent activity nodes as a proxy for human activity, and taxi trip data as a proxy for human movement between regions of the city. We analyze and systematically compare 35 different mobility strategies and demonstrate the benefits of using large-scale human activity data to simulate offender mobility. The strategies combining taxi trip data or historic crime data with popular activity nodes perform best compared to other strategies, especially for robbery. Our approach provides a basis for building agent-based crime simulations that infer offender mobility in urban areas from real-world data.

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