Shoppers and rioters have a lot in common, a study finds

Between August 6 and Augsust 10, 2011, London was enveloped in the worst civil unrest for 20 years, including looting, rioting and arson.

Reearchers quickly honed in on a strange factor as they combed through the events looking for lessons. Using mathematical modeling they discovered that the looters, like your average shopper, tended to loot close to home, according to a report on the research in Atlantic Cities.  On the other hand, looters would go longer distances to find greater choice, just like shoppers. Hence in deprived suburbs, where there was little retail choice, looting was very limited.

Police were criticised about their slow response to the looting. The researchers hope their insights will help police get quickly to the right places if such an event occurs again in the future.

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