The SIM4SECURITY Project aims to build a technological solution to support decision making, in terms of public security policies, based on the development of a GIS model and in the preparation of demographic scenarios, which may improve the effectiveness of the operational activity of the security forces.

In the current model of democratic rule of law, security is assumed as a basic right of citizens, gaining the status of an essential duty required to State responsible. At the same time, the budgetary constraints oblige an increasingly careful strategic management, adapted to the reality and endowed with adequate decision support instruments.

The institutional architecture of internal security in Portugal is plural (two police forces, a judicial police, a service of foreigners and borders, a marine police and other entities with administrative police functions), which causes conflicts of competence, operational redundancies and duplication of means and resources.

The various stakeholders recognize the need to change the current model, in order to assure the convergence of means, resources and operational activity, based on cooperation and information sharing between all participants.

The Simulator will allow policymakers, leaders and forces of command units and services the planning and rational affectation of resources adjusted to local dynamics in crime prevention, and combat and suppression of criminality, contributing to increase the collective security perception.

By performing demographic disaggregated scenarios, the SIM4SECURITY will optimize the ratio police / citizen, allow the evaluation and assessment of the effectiveness of policing model, optimize the resources to affect the security infrastructure building in the various geographical realities (rural and urban). Its use will allow planning the territorial device according to local population needs, the emergence of new risks, of new threats, and insecurity factors, through the intersection of data, resulting from demographic estimates and dynamic tools of spatial analysis. Being an evolutionary system, initially it will be able to monitor up to 2030 and technically capable of development and update for later years.

The SIM4SECURITY model will comply with a set of rules and procedures in order to represent and predict a specific outcome. This model, integrated and supported by the WebGIS application will allow users to easily simulate, emulate and handle impacts generated by possible changes, where a change of a parameter, variable or factor will provide distinct dynamic population distribution scenarios, visible on a map, aiming to assist planning issues and location-allocation problems related to the internal security sector, such as: 1) suitability of the police offer distribution according to population characteristics; 2) study of risk groups spatial and temporal dynamics and impact assessment in police distribution; 3) deployment of police forces; 4) estimation of security agents for a given area; 5) number and type of professionals.

All of these examples have spatial expression and they will differ according to the developed scenarios. This application will solve some location-allocation problems, which stands as one of the great advantages in using predictive models with spatial interaction.

The project is structured in 7 major parts:

  1. Project Management;
  2. Study, Analysis, and Diagnosis of the current national situation, regarding population and public security;
  3. Demographic Forecast and Scenario development: population; risk groups;
  4. Development and Implementation of a Geographic Information System and Design of a dynamic geoprocessing model SIM4SECURITY Model;
  5. Implementation of Advanced Spatial Analysis Methods: Implementing Spatially Dynamic Clusters and Modeling Urban Land Cover Change, prediction and modeling;
  6. Modeling the spatial distribution of Internal Security Forces (number of officers and facilities location) according to the developed scenarios;
  7. Project Outreach and Visibility.

To accomplish our goal the team is composed by researchers with different academic backgrounds and experience on demographic analysis, security, political science, statistics, and spatial analysis. Some of them were or are involved in shared research projects.

Overall, our project aims to provide an extensive and comprehensive assessment and spatial analysis of the security sector versus population needs that has never been performed for Portugal. This work is funded by FCT, Ref: PTDC/ATPDEM/1538/2014.