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Department of Geography


Modelling high-intensity crime areas in English cities

Research Team: M. Craglia, R. Haining, P. Signoretta

Funding: Home Office


Police forces responsible for large metropolitan areas in England and Wales have claimed that within certain parts of their urban areas there exist high-intensity crime areas (HIAs). These are areas that raise special policing problems because of the particularly violent forms of crime sometimes found within them and because of the unwillingness or inability of the resident population to co-operate fully with the police in part because of fears for their own safety. A sample of metropolitan police forces was asked to identify the location of their HIAs and this paper reports the results of a GIS-based spatial analysis to try and model the location of these areas using census data. Three police force areas were used to develop the model. This was subsequently validated against a further set of HIA data from different police forces. The model suggests that HIAs are characterised by populations that are deprived and live at high density, and by higher levels of population turnover.


Image as described adjacent

Figure 1: Cross-classification of EDs by model prediction and police classifications: Slough in the Thames Valley PFA (p=0.450).

Further reading

  • Craglia, M., R. Haining, P. Signoretta (2001). “Modelling high-intensity crime areas in English cities.” Urban Studies 38(11): 1921-1941.