An Immune System Inspired Theory for Crime and Violence in Cities

Crime is ubiquitous and has been around for millennia. Crime is analogous to a pathogenic infection and police response to it is similar to an immune response. The biological immune system is also engaged in an arms race with pathogens. We propose an immune system inspired theory of crime and violence in human societies, especially in large agglomerations like cities. In this work we suggest that an immune system inspired theory of crime can provide a new perspective on the dynamics of violence in societies. The competitive dynamics between police and criminals has similarities to how the immune system is involved in an arms race with invading pathogens. Cities have properties similar to biological organisms and in this theory the police and military forces would be the immune system that protects against detrimental internal and external forces. Our theory has implications for public policy: ranging from how much financial resource to invest in crime fighting, to optimal policing strategies, pre-placement of police, and number of police to be allocated to different cities. Our work can also be applied to other forms of violence in human societies (like terrorism) and violence in other primate societies and eusocial insects. We hope this will be the first step towards a quantitative theory of violence and conflict in human societies. Ultimately we hope that this will help in designing smart and efficient cities that can scale and be sustainable despite population increase.


An Immune System Inspired Theory for Crime and Violence in Cities

Soumya Banerjee
INDECS 15(2), 133-143, 2017
DOI 10.7906/indecs.15.2.2