Dr Toby Davies

Dr Toby Davies


I am a quantitative criminologist, with interest in spatial analysis, networks and computational methods. My research and teaching is concerned with identifying patterns and regularities in the occurrence of crime, with a view to informing effective crime prevention measures.

As an undergraduate, I studied Mathematics at the University of Oxford, graduating in 2008. I then began a PhD at University College London, as part of the SECReT Doctoral Training Centre and co-supervised between Mathematics and Crime Science. After this, I spent 3 years as a postdoctoral research associate on the EPSRC-funded Crime, Policing and Citizenship project, also at UCL. In 2016, I joined the Department of Security & Crime Science at UCL as a Lecturer, and became Associate Professor in 2021. In 2023, I joined the School of Law in my current role of Associate Professor in Criminal Justice Data Analytics.

My research is interdisciplinary in nature, and this is reflected in the range of outlets in which I have published. Within criminology, I have published in journals such as Criminology and Journal of Quantitative Criminology, and also contributed to a number of edited books. More widely, my work has also appeared in physics (e.g. Chaos, Physica A), network science (e.g. Applied Network Science, Social Networks) and generalist (e.g. Scientific Reports, PLoS One) journals. I have also guest-edited a special issue of Applied Network Science, and organised sessions at international conferences in mathematics, criminology and complex systems.

My work has an applied focus, and its ultimate aim is to develop insights and tools which can contribute to real-world crime prevention. This has led to me collaborating extensively with external partners, including both police services and other agencies. Within policing, I have been involved in projects with West Yorkshire Police, Thames Valley Police and West Midlands Police, all of which have involved the provision of tools that were subsequently deployed operationally. I have also provided analysis and insight to other agencies, including the London Mayor’s Office for Policing & Crime and the UK Home Office Analysis & Insight Group.

I am strongly committed to Open Science, and aim to practice and promote these principles throughout my work. While at UCL, I co-founded JDI Open, which is an interest group focussed on the promotion of open science within crime science. All materials related to my research are made freely available to the greatest extent possible.

Research interests

My research is concerned with the use of quantitative and computational methods to study patterns of crime, and I apply these approaches across a range of topics. Particular areas of interest include:

  • Urban form and crime. This is concerned with the ways in which the spatial distribution of crime is shaped by the configuration of urban space, with particular focus on the role of street networks.
  • Crime modelling. This research seeks to reproduce real-world patterns of crime using simplified models, including mathematical (e.g. equation-based) and computational (e.g. agent-based) approaches. Application areas range from residential burglary to large-scale rioting.
  • Social networks. Networks provide a means to represent and analyse the relationships between people - these might represent social links (e.g. friendship) or interactions (e.g. co-offending). My work examines what the structures within these networks can tell us about mechanisms such as accomplice selection.
  • Social contagion. Preliminary evidence suggests that crime-related phenomena can spread across social connections - for example, when an individual is a victim of violence, their associates may be at increased risk themselves for some period afterwards. This strand of work examines whether this kind of transmission can be seen in the UK.
  • Financial crime. I am interested in financial crime, and in particular with the identification of patterns within transaction data that might be reflective of crime (e.g. money laundering). I have also worked on fraud in relation to cryptocurrencies.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Mathematics
  • MMath Mathematics

Professional memberships

  • European Society of Criminology

Student education

My teaching primarily relates to the use of quantitative methods in the study and analysis of crime. I contribute to modules relating to research methods at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and also supervise dissertations.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Criminal Justice Studies
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>