Theories and Simulations of Complex Social Systems

Volume 52 of the series Intelligent Systems Reference Library pp 179-204


Optimising an Agent-Based Model to Explore the Behaviour of Simulated Burglars

  • Nick MallesonAffiliated withSchool of Geography, University of Leeds Email author 
  • , Linda SeeAffiliated withInternational Institute of Applied Systems AnalysisCentre for Applied Spatial Analysis, University College London (UCL)
  • , Andrew EvansAffiliated withSchool of Geography, University of Leeds
  • , Alison HeppenstallAffiliated withSchool of Geography, University of Leeds

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Agent-based methods are one approach for modelling complex social systems but one issue with these models is the large number of parameters that require estimation. This chapter examines the effect of using a genetic algorithm (GA) for the parameter estimation of an agent-based model (ABM) of burglary. One of the main issues encountered in the implementation was the computation time required to run the algorithm. Nevertheless a set of preliminary results were obtained, which indicated that visibility is the most important parameter in the decision of whether to burgle a house while accessibility was the least important. Such tools may eventually provide the means to gain a greater understanding of the factors that determine criminological behaviour.