The literatures on offender decision making and collective behaviour contain a number of theories regarding the nature by which individuals make decisions during outbreaks of rioting. These theories are employed in this chapter to investigate offender spatial decision making for the 2011 London riots. A parametric statistical model is presented that evaluates the extent to which theories of offender behaviour offer explanations for the distinctive space–time patterns of the riots. This model is presented in more detail in Baudains et al. (2013). The individual behaviour modelled is the choice of spatial location selected by each offender, a key driver in the emergent spatio-temporal profile of the system. By considering the observed riots as just one realisation of a probabilistic model, a simulation is then constructed in an attempt to recreate the spatio-temporal profile of the riots. This simulation is considered from the perspective of its possible application in the policy domain, with the findings of the model used to calculate optimal police deployment strategies.
10.2 Model Setup
For any type of crime, the rational choice perspective (Cornish and Clarke, 1986) suggests that offenders undergo at least two basic decision-making processes. The first concerns their readiness to offend, and this involves a consideration of the offender's needs, ...