We need more empirical investigations and model validation for a better understanding of crime – Comment on ‘Statistical physics of crime: A review’ by M.R. D’Orsogna and M. Perc

We need more empirical investigations and model validation for a better understanding of crime – Comment on ‘Statistical physics of crime: A review’ by M.R. D’Orsogna and M. Perc

H. V. Ribeiro, Physics of Life Reviews 12, 36 (2015). PDF | DOI

Since the seminal works of Wilson and Kelling [1] in 1982, the “broken windows theory” seems to have been widely accepted among the criminologists and, in fact, empirical findings actually point out that criminals tend to return to previously visited locations. Crime has always been part of the urban society’s agenda and has also attracted the attention of scholars from social sciences ever since. Furthermore, over the past six decades the world has experienced a quick and notorious urbanization process: by the eighties the urban population was about 40% of total population, and today more than half (54%) of the world population is urban [2]. The urbanization has brought us many benefits such as better working opportunities and health care, but has also created several problems such as pollution and a considerable rise in the criminal activities. In this context of urban problems, crime deserves a special attention because there is a huge necessity of empirical and mathematical (modeling) investigations which, apart from the natural academic interest, may find direct implications for the organization of our society by improving political decisions and resource allocation.