Project Title: Collaborative: A Criminology-Based Simulation of Dynamic Adversarial Behavior in Cyberattacks

Funding Agency: National Science Foundation

Affiliated Faculty: Aunshul Rege

Description: This research aims to develop a criminological theory that captures the dynamics of cybercrime and a corresponding simulator to generate attack scenarios that adapts to ever changing and diverse cyber vulnerabilities, defense, and adversary tactics. This research has two connected objectives: (1) Develop (and evaluate) an integrated Dynamic Routine Activities Theory (DRAT), which examines the continually changing interaction between offender, target, and guardian (OTG) along cyberattack trajectories aided by Monte-Carlo simulation; and (2) Understand how variations in OTG impact dynamic adversarial attack trajectories. Specifically, how can these variations and amounts of variations be measured, modeled and simulated, and what might these variations imply for DRAT — Understanding adversarial attack trajectories, and how these can be disrupted to impact adversaries, will be instrumental in comprehending anticipatory cyber defense and ultimately contribute to the paradigm shift towards proactive cybersecurity. This exploratory, multidisciplinary research marries the two disciplines of criminology and computer engineering to push the research frontier on proactive cybersecurity.

Project Title: Smart Policing: Hypothesis testing

Funding Agency: Bureau of Justice Assistance

Affiliated Faculty: Jerry Ratcliffe

Description: This BJA-funded project is designed to help Philadelphia Police commanders and crime analysts coordinate analysis and decision-making around numerous crime problems in the city. We are introducing a more scientific approach to the direction of crime analysis, and a more collaborative and community crime oriented response to the issues uncovered by the analysis.

Project Title: Translating ‘Near Repeat’ Theory into a Geospatial Policing Strategy: A Randomized Experiment Testing a Theoretically-Informed Strategy for Preventing Residential Burglary

Funding Agency: Subcontract to the Police Foundation (National Institute of Justice cooperative agreement)

Affiliated Faculty: Elizabeth Groff

Description: For almost a decade research has shown that once a burglary occurs on a street, the homes on that street and on nearby streets are at a much higher risk of burglary over the next one to two weeks. But this research finding has not yet been translated into actionable crime prevention strategies for police agencies and tested in the United States using a randomized controlled experiment. This project aims to correct this deficiency by using the knowledge surrounding near repeat burglary to develop a crime prevention strategy.

Broadly speaking, the research seeks to determine if knowledge about near repeat patterns of burglary can actually be used for crime prevention purposes. Within this framework, we are attempting to determine if raising awareness about crime issues and crime prevention techniques with the residents near burglary locations can reduce further burglary in the area. The targeted department strategy we are suggesting is a one-page information-rich document (in English and Spanish) that would indicate that an incident has occurred and crime prevention efforts that can be undertaken by residents. We will also include in that document links to further information that will be available on line. A key feature of this experiment is the ability to get this information to all households within the defined area within 24 hours of a particular burglary incident (using community policing or patrol officers, auxiliary officers, or formal departmental volunteers).

At the end of the experiment, we will evaluate whether homes within the treatment areas were victimized less than those in the control areas. A random sample of residents will be surveyed to discover whether they received information and what actions they took in response. If a crime reduction occurs, a cost analysis will be conducted to discover whether the money saved through prevention offset the additional funds spent on notification.

Project Title: CAREER: Applying a Criminological Framework to Understand Adaptive Adversarial Decision-Making Processes in Critical Infrastructure Cyberattacks

Funding Agency: National Science Foundation

Affiliated Faculty: Aunshul Rege

Description: This project investigates the adaptive and evolving adversarial decision-making (ADM) process in critical infrastructure cyberattacks. Specifically, this project has five research objectives: (1) Investigate adversary-defender interaction and identify adversarial attack paths, (2) Understand adversarial adaptability when attack paths are disrupted, (3) Investigate the importance and characteristics of the various stages in attack paths, (4) Identify which factors impact ADM at each stage of the attack path, and (5) Improve the transparency, consistency and validation of adversarial attack paths.

Project Title: CPS: Synergy: Collaborative Research: Towards Secure Networked Cyber-Physical Systems: A Theoretic Framework with Bounded Rationality

Funding Agency: National Science Foundation

Affiliated Faculty: Aunshul Rege

Description: This project will develop a multidisciplinary framework that weaves together principles from cybersecurity, control theory, networking and criminology. The framework will include novel security mechanisms for networked cyber-physical systems (NCPSs) founded on solid control-theoretic and related notions, analytical tools that allow incorporation of bounded human rationality in NCPS security, and experiments with real-world attack scenarios. A newly built cross-institutional NCPS simulator will be used to evaluate the proposed mechanisms in realistic environments. This research transcends specific cyber-physical systems domains and provides the necessary tools to building secure and trustworthy NCPSs. The broader impacts include a new infrastructure for NCPS research and education, training of students, new courses, and outreach events focused on under-represented student groups.

Project Title: Police legitimacy perceptions

Affiliated Faculty: Ralph B. Taylor

Description: Much has yet to be understood about the determinants of perceived police legitimacy and related topics such as confidence in the criminal justice system. Recent research examines variable connections between perceived fairness and effectiveness depending both on perceiver race and urban vs. suburban location (Taylor, Wyant, Lockwood, Social Science Research, 2014 online), and impacts of both perceived fairness and incivilities on police confidence across the commonwealth (Taylor and Lawton Police Quarterly 2012).

Project Title: Police Initiated Diversion for Youth to Prevent Future Delinquent Behavior: A Systematic Review (a Campbell Collaboration review)

Funding Agency: Jacobs Foundation

Affiliated Faculty: Ajima Olaghere

Description: A systematic review and meta-analysis of experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations on the effectiveness of pre-court interventions involving police (i.e., police diversion schemes). Police diversion schemes are an alternative to formal juvenile justice system processing and involve the use of police officers in diverting youth from formal justice processing. Police diversion schemes vary by type of intervention and are usually available for youth in contact with the juvenile justice system for the first time and involved in minor offenses.