Identification of spatial patterns of crime has seen the promotion of several theories and has been the subject of many philosophical debates in an attempt to help explain their manifestation. According to some crime analysts, models drawn from studying animal behaviour may even help predict human behaviour. Crime analysts are borrowing from game hunting and the study of predatory movement. Crime maps are used to record the locations of incidents in order to help predict where criminals are going to strike next, are used by police throughout the world. This paper discusses some of the methods used to identify patterns and trends in crime in the United Kingdom.
According to Cole (1995) the tools of the disciplined futurists are a sound methodology, a sense of history and theory, knowledge of key factual data, and the ability to examine crime in the contexts of broader social, political, technological, and economic trends. The data sources and methods used to guide forecasting include crime statistics; surveys of experts, practitioners, and the general public; literature reviews; scenario writing; and statistical (time series) models that extrapolate crime trends into the future.
Mathematical models that explain the behaviour of observed past values can be used to forecast future crime trends by projecting a time series analysis of crime trends into the future. In general, the source of quantitative time-series forecasting is police- and victim-reported crime statistics. Modelling consists of describing the causal sequence of variables and the prediction of their interactions. Any predictive model endeavours to show a relationship between certain independent (predictor) variables and a dependent variable (i.e., the criterion to be predicted).
The principal strength of quantitative models, in relation to qualitative forecasts, is that descriptions of future crime rates are much more specific and precise, although not