“Catch and release”

Ashley Hewitt (School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada)
Eric Beauregard (School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada)
Garth Davies (School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Publication date: 2 November 2012



Factors influencing crime location choices are not only significant to rape investigations, but they are especially important for geographic profiling. The purpose of the current study is to use temporal, hunting behavior, and modus operandi factors to determine those variables that influence the victim encounter and release locations in serial sexual crime.


Due to the possible correlated nature of serial rapes, the authors use generalized estimating equations (GEE) on a sample of 361 rapes committed by 72 serial sex offenders.


Results indicate that temporal factors, offender hunting behavior, and modus operandi strategies are significant predictors of both the victim encounter and release sites, but the importance of these factors varies depending on whether the location is in a residential land use area, a private site, inside location, or a site that is familiar to the offender.

Practical implications

Police can learn from the current findings and apply them to subsequent rapes within a series by recognizing the timing of the offense, the type of hunting pattern and attack method used in prior sexual crimes committed by the same offender, and modus operandi strategies, to determine the type of location where the rapist is likely to offend next.


This paper is the first attempt to predict factors related to both the encounter and the victim release site in serial rapes using GEE.



Hewitt, A., Beauregard, E. and Davies, G. (2012), "“Catch and release”", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 835-856. https://doi.org/10.1108/13639511211275814

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