Consumer Data Research Centre

Enumerating the Ambient Population in the Context of Crime: A Comparative Study of ‘Contemporaneous’ and ‘Traditional’ Data Sets

The term ‘ambient population’ refers to the actual number of persons who are present within a particular area at any given time. Population counts have traditionally been derived from decennial censuses, but these have tended to be limited in their ability to capture daily fluctuations in population size that can occur when people move between different activity types and locations.

Since reliable population figures are fundamental to the efficient allocation of public resources and service provision, there is growing interest in the use of alternative data sources as enumerators of the population. Accurate representations of the ambient population are extremely relevant for the field of crime analysis because they can facilitate the identification of areas where the risk of victimisation is comparatively high, or low, relative to the size of the underlying population.

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Emily Sheard, Nick Malleson and Mark Birkin