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Title: Developing police patrol strategies based on the urban street network
Author: Chen, Huanfa
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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In urban areas, crime and disorder have been long-lasting problems that spoil the economic and emotional well-being of residents. A significant way to deter crime, and maintain public safety is through police patrolling. So far, the deployment of police forces in patrolling has relied mainly on expert knowledge, and is usually based on two-dimensional spatial units, giving insufficient consideration to the underlying urban structure and collaboration among patrol officers. This approach has led to impractical and inefficient police patrol strategies, as well as a workload imbalance among officers. Therefore, it is of essential importance to devise advanced police patrol strategies that incorporate urban structure, the collaboration of the patrol officers, and a workload balance. This study aims to develop police patrol strategies that would make intelligent use of the street network layout in urban areas. The street network is a key component in urban structure and is the domain in which crime and policing take place. By explicitly considering street network configurations in their operations, police forces are enabled to provide timely responses to emergency calls and essential coverage to crime hotspots. Although some models have considered street networks in patrolling to some extent, challenges remain. First, most existing methods for the design of police districts use two-dimensional units, such as grid cells, as basic units, but using streets as basic units would lead to districts that are more accessible and usable. Second, the routing problem in police patrolling has several unique characteristics, such as patrollers potentially starting from different stations, but most existing routing strategies have failed to consider these. Third, police patrolling strategies should be validated using real-world scenarios, whilst most existing strategies in the literature have only been tested in small hypothetical instances without realistic settings. In this thesis, a framework for developing police patrol strategies based on the urban street network is proposed, to effectively cover crime hotspots, as well as the rest of the territory. This framework consists of three strategies, including a districting model, a patrol routing strategy for repeated coverage, and a patrol routing strategy for infrequent coverage. Various relevant factors have been considered in the strategy design, including the underlying structure of the street network and the collaboration among patrollers belonging to different stations. Moreover, these strategies have been validated by the patrolling scenarios in London. The results demonstrate that these strategies outperform the current corresponding benchmark strategies, which indicates that they may have considerable potential in future police operations.
Supervisor: Cheng, T. ; John, S-T. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available