Virtual Burglary Project
The Virtual Burglary Project is a research program co-headed by Prof. Claire Nee (University of Portsmouth) and involves a collaboration with researchers from Leiden University and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The Virtual Burglary Project uses a VR approach to better understand the behavior of residential burglars and to contribute to crime prevention. Data collections occur in Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Research within the Virtual Burglary Project uses virtual reality versions of residential neighborhoods and houses that are developed to study the different ways in which burglars operate when they are “on the job.” Incarcerated burglars, and sometimes others, are invited to explore a virtual neighborhood for burglary opportunities or to commit a burglary in VR. In both cases, the participants are instructed to go about the activity just as they would do in real life. The VR system tracks their behavior—such as gaze and spatial patterns, which target they select, which entry points they use, and how they go about committing a burglary once inside the target—in real time. In combination with the experimental variation of relevant features of the environment, such as street lighting, alarm systems, signage, or the presence/absence of avatars, this approach provides novel insights into burglary behavior.
The Virtual Burglary Project & Cybersickness
In this episode Christopher Murphy discusses the Virtual Burglary Project, looking at how virtual reality can be used to measure decision-making and perception processes in a computer-generated environment. The technical challenges involved in making a seamless virtual world are also covered.