USM Researcher’s Work on Crime Patterns in China During Covid-19 Pandemic Published in Noted Journal | #College. | #Students

10/22/2020 – 07:22am | By: Van Arnold
Intensive research conducted by Dr. Justin Kurland and others involving crime patterns
in China connected to the COVID-19 pandemic has been published in the prestigious
science journal PLOS ONE.

Kurland, research professor in the School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and
Security at The University of Southern Mississippi, collaborated on the project with
three other research scientists: Dr. Herve Borrion, Associate Professor, Department
of Security and Crime Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom;
Dr. Nick Tilley, Principal Research Associate, Department of Security and Crime Science,
University College London, London, United Kingdom, and Dr. Peng Chen, Professor, School
of Policing and Information Engineering, People’s Public Security University of China,
Beijing, China.

The group’s paper is titled: “Measuring the resilience of criminogenic ecosystems
to global disruption: A case-study of COVID-19 in China.” In the publication, Kurland
and his colleagues quantified how retail theft was affected during the pandemic lockdown
by taking advantage of incident data from as far back as 2017 for an anonymous city
in China. Focusing on a Chinese city had the distinct advantage of examining patterns
of crime across a complete public health contagion prevention cycle.

“Put differently, China, unlike most of the world, had experienced the initial spread
of COVID-19 domestically, entered a lockdown phase guided by public health measures
meant to curb the spread of the virus, and when deemed under control, lifted the associated
stringencies enabling the resumption of routine activity by residents,” said Kurland.

Results from the study indicated that the pattern of retail theft incidents dropped
significantly after the introduction of public health measures, bottomed-out during
the lockdown period at near zero levels, and rebounded after the stringencies ended
with an even higher level of incidents.

“The pattern seems intuitive,” notes Kurland, who serves as Director of Research for
USM’s National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4). “Retail theft
was at a particular level prior to the lockdown, restrictions all but eliminated the
freedom of movement by citizens, thus greatly reducing the number of opportunities
to engage in retail theft, only to surge above pre-lockdown levels once the measures
are lifted.”

Kurland stresses that the research and its findings provide enormous benefits for
scientists everywhere. Chief among these:

· No mathematical model existed prior to the work that could describe the resilience
of criminogenic ecosystems.

· It enables the comparison of the impact of COVID-19 on criminal (eco)systems across
the world. In turn, it allows researchers to compare data from elsewhere and more
deeply explore the extent to which the pattern that emerges are generalizable.

· It will enable recommendations to help potentially reduce crime and security-related
problems when stringencies are lifted in other locations around the world that remain
in place.

Having the work published in an acclaimed journal such as PLOS ONE represents a significant
milestone for Kurland and his colleagues who devoted countless hours to the project.
Kurland notes that he and Borrion wrote more than 70 drafts in an effort to get the
paper exactly right.

“I was really delighted to have our work accepted into such a prestigious journal,
in large part because I know that our work will have the potential to reach a broader
audience,” said Kurland. “Importantly, it was validating because it reinforced that
we are on the right track in our approach to helping build a clearer methodology that,
in turn, will lead to a better understanding of crime during disasters.”

Learn more about the research and its findings here:


About PLOS ONE PLOS ONE is an inclusive journal community working together to advance
science for the benefit of society, now and in the future. Founded with the aim of
accelerating the pace of scientific advancement and demonstrating its value, PLOS
ONE believes all rigorous science needs to be published and discoverable, widely disseminated
and freely accessible to all. The research published is multidisciplinary and, often,
interdisciplinary. PLOS ONE accepts research in more than 200 subject areas across
science, engineering, medicine, and the related social sciences and humanities. It
evaluates submitted manuscripts on the basis of methodological rigor and high ethical
standards, regardless of perceived novelty.

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