Geographic patterns of diffusion in the 2011 London riots

Peter Baudains, Shane D. Johnson, Alex R Braithwaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Surprisingly little research has examined the localised diffusion of riots within cities. In this paper, we investigate such patterns during the 2011 London riots, and consider how they changed as police numbers increased. Understanding how offences spread in space and time can provide insights regarding the mechanisms of contagion, and of the risk of events spreading between contiguous areas. Using spatial-temporal grids of varying resolution, and a Monte Carlo simulation, we compare observed patterns with those expected assuming the timing and location of events are independent. In particular, we differentiate between four space-time signatures: "flashpoints" of disorder which appear out of nowhere, "containment" whereby already affected areas experience further events, "escalation" whereby rioting continues in affected areas and spreads to those nearby, and "relocation" whereby the disorder moves from one locality to those adjacent. During the first half of the disorder, fewer counts of relocation diffusion were observed than expected, but patterns of containment, escalation, and flashpoints were all more prominent. For the second half of the disorder, when police capacity increased roughly three-fold, observed patterns did not differ from expectation. Our results show support for theories of spatial contagion, and suggest that there was a degree of coordination amongst rioters. They also show that police activity did not just suppress rioting, but dampened the influence of contagion, without displacement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-219
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Geography
Volume45
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Fingerprint

police
escalation
move
relocation
containment
event
space and time
offense
fold
simulation
experience
Contagion
Police
time
Relocation
Escalation

Keywords

  • Diffusion
  • Geographic contagion
  • Policing
  • Riots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

Geographic patterns of diffusion in the 2011 London riots. / Baudains, Peter; Johnson, Shane D.; Braithwaite, Alex R.

In: Applied Geography, Vol. 45, 12.2013, p. 211-219.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Baudains, Peter ; Johnson, Shane D. ; Braithwaite, Alex R. / Geographic patterns of diffusion in the 2011 London riots. In: Applied Geography. 2013 ; Vol. 45. pp. 211-219.
@article{68ea425ae6614193a005d6fe2101513b,
title = "Geographic patterns of diffusion in the 2011 London riots",
abstract = "Surprisingly little research has examined the localised diffusion of riots within cities. In this paper, we investigate such patterns during the 2011 London riots, and consider how they changed as police numbers increased. Understanding how offences spread in space and time can provide insights regarding the mechanisms of contagion, and of the risk of events spreading between contiguous areas. Using spatial-temporal grids of varying resolution, and a Monte Carlo simulation, we compare observed patterns with those expected assuming the timing and location of events are independent. In particular, we differentiate between four space-time signatures: {"}flashpoints{"} of disorder which appear out of nowhere, {"}containment{"} whereby already affected areas experience further events, {"}escalation{"} whereby rioting continues in affected areas and spreads to those nearby, and {"}relocation{"} whereby the disorder moves from one locality to those adjacent. During the first half of the disorder, fewer counts of relocation diffusion were observed than expected, but patterns of containment, escalation, and flashpoints were all more prominent. For the second half of the disorder, when police capacity increased roughly three-fold, observed patterns did not differ from expectation. Our results show support for theories of spatial contagion, and suggest that there was a degree of coordination amongst rioters. They also show that police activity did not just suppress rioting, but dampened the influence of contagion, without displacement.",
keywords = "Diffusion, Geographic contagion, Policing, Riots",
author = "Peter Baudains and Johnson, {Shane D.} and Braithwaite, {Alex R}",
year = "2013",
month = "12",
doi = "10.1016/j.apgeog.2013.09.010",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "45",
pages = "211--219",
journal = "Applied Geography",
issn = "0143-6228",
publisher = "Elsevier BV",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Geographic patterns of diffusion in the 2011 London riots

AU - Baudains, Peter

AU - Johnson, Shane D.

AU - Braithwaite, Alex R

PY - 2013/12

Y1 - 2013/12

N2 - Surprisingly little research has examined the localised diffusion of riots within cities. In this paper, we investigate such patterns during the 2011 London riots, and consider how they changed as police numbers increased. Understanding how offences spread in space and time can provide insights regarding the mechanisms of contagion, and of the risk of events spreading between contiguous areas. Using spatial-temporal grids of varying resolution, and a Monte Carlo simulation, we compare observed patterns with those expected assuming the timing and location of events are independent. In particular, we differentiate between four space-time signatures: "flashpoints" of disorder which appear out of nowhere, "containment" whereby already affected areas experience further events, "escalation" whereby rioting continues in affected areas and spreads to those nearby, and "relocation" whereby the disorder moves from one locality to those adjacent. During the first half of the disorder, fewer counts of relocation diffusion were observed than expected, but patterns of containment, escalation, and flashpoints were all more prominent. For the second half of the disorder, when police capacity increased roughly three-fold, observed patterns did not differ from expectation. Our results show support for theories of spatial contagion, and suggest that there was a degree of coordination amongst rioters. They also show that police activity did not just suppress rioting, but dampened the influence of contagion, without displacement.

AB - Surprisingly little research has examined the localised diffusion of riots within cities. In this paper, we investigate such patterns during the 2011 London riots, and consider how they changed as police numbers increased. Understanding how offences spread in space and time can provide insights regarding the mechanisms of contagion, and of the risk of events spreading between contiguous areas. Using spatial-temporal grids of varying resolution, and a Monte Carlo simulation, we compare observed patterns with those expected assuming the timing and location of events are independent. In particular, we differentiate between four space-time signatures: "flashpoints" of disorder which appear out of nowhere, "containment" whereby already affected areas experience further events, "escalation" whereby rioting continues in affected areas and spreads to those nearby, and "relocation" whereby the disorder moves from one locality to those adjacent. During the first half of the disorder, fewer counts of relocation diffusion were observed than expected, but patterns of containment, escalation, and flashpoints were all more prominent. For the second half of the disorder, when police capacity increased roughly three-fold, observed patterns did not differ from expectation. Our results show support for theories of spatial contagion, and suggest that there was a degree of coordination amongst rioters. They also show that police activity did not just suppress rioting, but dampened the influence of contagion, without displacement.

KW - Diffusion

KW - Geographic contagion

KW - Policing

KW - Riots

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84885441606&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84885441606&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.apgeog.2013.09.010

DO - 10.1016/j.apgeog.2013.09.010

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84885441606

VL - 45

SP - 211

EP - 219

JO - Applied Geography

JF - Applied Geography

SN - 0143-6228

ER -