School of Geography
FACULTY OF ENVIRONMENT
Spatial Microsimulation and
Crime Analysis
Mark Birkin
Professor of Spatial Analysis and Policy
University of Leeds
The Obvious Questions...
• What is Spatial Microsimulation?
• Why is it interesting to the audience at a
workshop on Crime, Policing and Society?
Microsimulation
• Introduced to economics in the 1950s by Guy
Orcutt
– Motivated by a desire to understand the
distributional consequences of financial policies
(tax, benefits etc)
– Represent individual households or population
members rather than array-based aggregates
– Apply rules e.g. person(s) under 18 then allocate
child benefit
• Idea enthusiastically adopted by geographers
– also concerned with (spatial) distributions
Represent Individuals
HB claim no.
100284068
102577377
102535368
100643900
100076017
100243466
102140780
102447058
10011922X
10220693X
102731632
100060213
102796419
100680082
100100742
102426343
100143265
102446188
100506583
100711368
102832964
102803592
100286603
100109750
100721697
10296873X
102283904
Claimant's Claimant
Tenancy
NI no.
DOB
Type
JB187699D
25/01/1905
1
SJ420608A
09/04/1962
1
JS441324A
07/08/1990
3
JR946647D
07/06/1980
3
ZS062575C
30/08/1938
1
YB731969D
27/02/1944
1
NW093710C 16/06/1970
1
JN815575D
05/07/1981
1
JC971278C
22/09/1975
1
NS672732B
04/02/1970
1
WE225453C 21/10/1958
1
YT659048A
24/08/1956
1
YP859509C
23/05/1951
9
NW410270C 06/11/1970
3
JC988101B
26/09/1975
1
ZB813715C
19/07/1932
7
JE274869B
22/07/1976
1
NE686652C
27/11/1964
4
PX782018C
04/03/1976
1
JC459247D
24/02/1917
1
JN455169B
21/02/1985
3
YB270876A
15/09/1943
3
ZP628017A
08/07/1935
1
YT870915C
17/08/1948
7
LT593491C
08/04/1924
1
JT573102C
24/02/1982
1
JR817278C
18/02/1987
4
ES202175A
03/07/1923
4
WL028070C
17/01/1960
1
Passporte
d/
Standard
Postcode Indicator
LS10 4HH
2
LS10 4LW
4
LS16 5AF
4
LS25 2EU
4
LS9 7UD
4
WF10 2HS
4
LS12 4RD
1
LS16 7BD
3
LS7 1DP
1
LS9 0JA
3
LS7 2HH
3
LS5 3PB
4
LS9 6AL
4
LS29 6AA
4
LS7 1HL
3
LS9 6ES
2
LS11 8LD
1
LS17 6WB
5
LS9 6RY
1
LS19 6JA
2
LS15 8BN
4
LS11 7EN
2
LS19 6EB
4
LS22 5LP
2
LS26 9DA
4
LS15 0BP
1
LS8 5NR
1
LS25 1JB
4
LS11 5UP
5
no. of
child
no. of non- status of HB Claim
dependen dependen HB claim Entitlement
ts
ts
at extract Start Date
0
0
1 07/04/2003
2
0
1 14/04/2008
1
0
1 07/05/2007
1
0
1 21/12/2009
0
1
1 12/01/2009
0
0
1 07/04/2003
0
0
1 27/09/2004
0
0
1 27/07/2009
0
0
1 07/04/2003
2
0
1 13/09/2010
2
1
1 27/10/2008
0
0
1 07/04/2003
0
0
1 15/06/2009
2
1
1 04/10/2004
0
0
1 27/07/2009
0
0
0
2
0
1 02/11/2009
0
0
1 27/07/2009
2
0
1 07/08/2006
0
0
1 07/04/2003
1
0
1 31/03/2009
0
0
1 20/04/2009
0
0
1 16/02/2009
0
1
0
0
0
1 07/04/2003
2
0
1 17/11/2008
1
0
1 27/10/2008
0
0
1 09/11/2009
0
0
1 30/06/2008
Weekly
Housing
Benefit
Entitleme
nt £
5379
5696
9801
11483
3236
4467
5775
5550
5221
5801
5612
4081
10356
14103
4808
0
6039
11473
5922
5723
8833
10356
4033
0
5964
5437
6656
7987
5105
Frequenc
y of
Payment
of HB
1
2
3
3
1
1
1
3
1
1
1
3
3
1
1
3
1
1
3
3
1
1
3
3
1
Weekly
Eligible
Council
Rent
Tax Band Amount £
A
5379
A
5696
B
11308
B
12692
A
5250
A
5914
A
5775
A
5550
A
5221
A
5801
A
5612
A
5716
A
10356
C
14192
A
4808
A
0
A
6039
B
11473
A
5922
B
5723
E
11885
B
10356
A
5322
F
0
B
6114
A
5437
A
6656
A
10488
A
5105
Distributional Consequences
Policy Rules
And then the clever stuff...
The Benefits
Easy to generate
Easy to aggregate
Easy to link
Easy to manipulate
Easy to scale
Easy to implement
Easy to project
Benefits (1)
Kavroudakis D, Ballas D, Birkin M (2012) Using spatial microsimulation to model social and
spatial inequalities in educational attainment, Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy, in press.
Benefits (2)
Tomintz M., Clarke G.P., Rigby J. (2008) The geography of smoking in Leeds: estimating individual smoking
rates and the implications for the location for stop smoking services, Area 40(3), 341-353
Benefits (3)
Spatial microsimulation for rural policy analysis in Ireland: The implications of CAP reforms for the national
spatial strategy D. Ballas, G.P. Clarke, E. Wiemers, Journal of Rural Studies 22 (2006) 367–378
Benefits (4)
Survey
Scenario 1
Scenario 2
Scenario 3
Scenario 4
69 wards in
69 wards in
extended ring extended ring
with £5 charge with £5 charge
Carry On
7%
33 wards in
33 wards in
central ring
central ring
with £5 charge with £10
charge
9%
2%
10%
2%
Change Route
9%
6%
4%
5%
2%
Change Mode
7%
7%
12%
12%
22%
Change
Destination
23%
23%
27%
24%
30%
Unaffected
54%
55%
55%
49%
44%
Birkin M, Malleson N, Hudson-Smith A, Gray S, Milton R (2011) Calibration of a Spatial Interaction
Model with Volunteered Geographical Information, International Journal of Geographical Information
Science, forthcoming.
Benefits (5)
population statistics
1991
2001
2011
2021
41,855
47,202
51,074
54,796
Unemployed (as a % of economically active)
4.6%
2.7%
1.8%
1.5%
LLTI (%)
9.5%
8.3%
5.8%
3.9%
Elderly (over 64 years as a % of all individuals)
34.5%
41.9%
41.3%
45.9%
Economically active (%)
46.2%
49.3%
55.1%
58.4%
Health problems: Anxiety, depression (%)
5.7%
4.8%
3.7%
3.8%
“Loneliness” (% with no one to talk to in times of need)
6.6%
7.2%
8.8%
11.5%
34.4%
42.3%
43.4%
41.8%
0.73
0.88
1.02
1.03
Households
Single person households
Cars/Households ratio
Ballas, D., Clarke G.P., Dorling D. Rossiter D. (2007) Using SimBritain to model the geographical impact of
national government policies, Geographical Analysis, 39(1), 44-77
Problems and Issues
X
X
X
?
?
X
Lack of standards
Lack of software
Data is messy and heterogeneous
Strong applications, weak theory
Challenging ethics
Tend to be mechanistic
From Microsimulation to
Individual Based Simulation
• Need some insights from agent-based modelling to
bolster the MSM
– Conceptual and behavioural detail
– Evidence driven and policy rich
• Wu B, Birkin M, Rees P (2008) A spatial microsimulation model with
student agents, Computers Environment and Urban Systems, 32, 440-453.
• Jordan, R., Birkin, M., Evans, A. (2011): ‘Agent-based Simulation Modelling
of Housing Choice and Urban Regeneration Policy’. In: Bosse, T., Geller, A.
and Jonker, C. (eds.), Multi-Agent-Based Simulation XI. Springer, Berlin,
152-166. Malleson and Birkin (2012)
• Malleson N., Birkin M. (2012) Analysis of crime patterns through the
integration of an agent-based model and a population microsimulation,
Computers, Environment and Urban Systems,
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2012.04.003
MSM-IBM for Crime
Policy Analysis
Explore relationship between house type and residential burglary
• Are certain house types more at risk?
• And do community demographics have an effect?
Burglary rates by Housing Type by OAC Super Group
Neighbourhood
cohesion?
Low
guardianship?
?
Affluence within
disadvantage?
MSM-IBM and Crime
In recent years, criminologists have become interested in
understanding crime variations at progressively finer spatial scales,
right down to individual streets or even houses. To model at these fine
spatial scales, and to better account for the dynamics of the crime
system, agent-based models of crime are emerging. Generally, these
have been more successful in representing the behaviour of criminals
than their victims. In this paper it is suggested that individual
representations of criminal behaviour can be enhanced by combining
them with models of the criminal environment which are specified at a
similar scale. In the case of burglary this means the identification of
individual households as targets. We will show how this can be
achieved using the complementary technique of microsimulation. The
work is significant because it allows agent-based models of crime to be
refined geographically (to allow, for example, individual households
with varying wealth or occupancy measures) and leads to the
identification of the characteristics of individual victims.
MSM-IBM and Crime
MSM-IBM and Crime
Conclusions
• Microsimulation is a proven technique in
applied economics and spatial analysis
• Many established applications in housing,
health, education, transport...
• Extension to crime is natural and obvious
• Strength of the techniques include applied
scale and policy relevance
• Tendency towards rigidity – a more flexible
combination of individual based approaches
may be the way forward here
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Spatial Microsimulation and Crime Analysis