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Crime and its fear in social media

Prieto Curiel, R; Cresci, S; Muntean, CI; Bishop, SR; (2020) Crime and its fear in social media. Palgrave Communications , 6 (1) , Article 57. 10.1057/s41599-020-0430-7. Green open access

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Abstract

Social media posts incorporate real-time information that has, elsewhere, been exploited to predict social trends. This paper considers whether such information can be useful in relation to crime and fear of crime. A large number of tweets were collected from the 18 largest Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America, over a period of 70 days. These tweets are then classified as being crime-related or not and additional information is extracted, including the type of crime and where possible, any geo-location at a city level. From the analysis of collected data, it is established that around 15 out of every 1000 tweets have text related to a crime, or fear of crime. The frequency of tweets related to crime is then compared against the number of murders, the murder rate, or the level of fear of crime as recorded in surveys. Results show that, like mass media, such as newspapers, social media suffer from a strong bias towards violent or sexual crimes. Furthermore, social media messages are not highly correlated with crime. Thus, social media is shown not to be highly useful for detecting trends in crime itself, but what they do demonstrate is rather a reflection of the level of the fear of crime.

Type: Article
Title: Crime and its fear in social media
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1057/s41599-020-0430-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-020-0430-7
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Complex networks, Criminology, Cultural and media studies
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Mathematics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10105530
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