Center for Security and Crime Science

The Center for Security and Crime Science (housed in the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University) is the first center in the United States devoted to Crime Science. In the 21st Century, thinking about crime has expanded in scope to move beyond domestic concerns and security has become more broadly construed as dealing with issues of public safety and social harm. Crime is now the business of public as well as private agencies, formal as well as informal entities, all seeking to address multiple levels of security concerns.


Crime Science is a radical departure from old ways of thinking about the problem of crime in society. Traditional criminology has concentrated on what happens after crimes are committed; that is, how we respond to a criminal act and how we define "crime". Crime Science is a new approach intended to get upstream of crime and to proactively prevent it rather than merely respond to it. Crime Science examines those crimes which occur most frequently and then develops policy options which close them off. This approach can work to reduce both the inclination, and the opportunity to commit crime.

Crime Science takes the issue of crime one step further than traditional criminology. It seeks contributions from inter-related disciplines, including; psychology, geography, public health, law and urban planning. The inter-disciplinary nature of Crime Science allows the development of a coherent strategy to influence both product and building design, and to examine the social and psychological factors, which contribute to criminal activity. The result is an integrated approach to the problem of crime.

Read below for details of some of our current and recent projects.


The Philadelphia Foot Patrol Experiment

On the invitation of the Philadelphia Police Department, police and academic researchers worked together to plan the Philadelphia Foot Patrol Experiment as a randomized control trial. 60 violent crime hotspots were targeted during the summer of 2009, and after three months violence had reduced by 23 percent compared to comparison areas. Analysis of the results found little displacement, but did find a threshold level for effectiveness.

Faculty: Jerry Ratcliffe, Elizabeth Groff, Jennifer Wood

One page summary


The Smart Policing Initiative

The Smart Policing Initiative (SPI) is a collaborative between a number of police departments in the US and a research partner. In Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Police Department has partnered with Temple University and researchers from CSCS. The project is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. In this project, we employed a randomized-controlled trial to test a range of solutions to serious crime problems in the city, including; foot patrol, offender-focused activity, and problem-oriented policing. See link to right for results summary.

Three page summary

Faculty: Elizabeth Groff, Jerry Ratcliffe

The crime reduction effectiveness of CCTV

Newspaper accounts suggest that CCTV cameras are being implemented at a rate never seen before. Yet there has been a lack of high quality, independent evaluation studies, and only one significant study in the US, conducted over a decade ago. Drs Ratcliffe and Groff are currently working on an NIJ-funded study to evaluate the crime reduction impact of over 100 CCTV cameras in Philadelphia, PA, - an ongoing NIJ-funded large-scale, multi-method, quasi-experimental research study.

Faculty: Jerry Ratcliffe, Elizabeth Groff


Predictive modeling of long and short term crime risk

This ongoing project will create a free software tool that will enable police departments to use their geocoded crime data in combination with freely-available census data to create micro-spatial estimates of future criminal activity at the local block level. Working with Azavea, an innovative Philadelphia-based GIS company, Drs Ratcliffe and Taylor are developing a methodology to combine long-term risk prediction from underlying socio-demographics with event-created near-repeat risk.

Faculty: Jerry Ratcliffe, Ralph B. Taylor


Police interventions with persons affected by mental illness
Although it is not their primary mission, law enforcement officers serve as mental health interventionists. In this role, they intervene with vulnerable people in spaces of the city that may be considered “hotspots of vulnerability.” This ongoing project is devoted to strengthening theoretical and practical linkages between law enforcement and public health. Central to this agenda are insights from the literatures on environmental criminology and problem-oriented policing which can help provide for a twin emphasis on "case management" and "place management" in efforts to enhance public health and safety. Visit Jennifer Wood's faculty page for information about a research monograph, policy brief and recent scholarly article.

Faculty: Jennifer Wood


More information about CSCS will be available shortly. If you have any questions in the meantime, please send an e-mail to