Evaluating the use of data-based offender profiling by researchers, practitioners and investigative journalists to address unresolved serial homicides
Journal of Criminal Psychology
Article publication date: 11 February 2020
Issue publication date: 5 May 2020
The purpose of this article is to improve the use of evidence-based practice and research utilization in the offender profiling process. The use of offender profiling has been met with increasing resistance given its exaggerated accuracy. The “Investigative Journalist/Expert Field Micro Task Force” model, a collaborative method that incorporates offender profiling and is designed to address unresolved serial homicides, is introduced and evaluated alongside recommendations on attaining adherence.
The model was field tested in 17 instances. The measures used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to gauge the usefulness of their case consultations, whether their input helped catch the offender, offer new leads, move the case forward, provide new avenues or give new ideas, were used to evaluate the model.
The model established likely patterns of serial murder activity among strangulations of women in Chicago, Cleveland, and Panama and resulted in convictions of suspects in Louisiana and Kansas City. This model is valuable when used to parse modern-day offenders from those who committed unresolved homicides as the latter display different behaviors that can make investigations difficult endeavors. Results from the field tests mirror those from the literature in that profiling alone did not result in the capture of serial killers. Instead, profiling was used in conjunction with other efforts and mainly as a means to keep the investigation moving forward.
Unresolved homicides are at a point of crisis and represent a significant but largely unaddressed societal problem. The success of this model may compel law enforcement to restore faith in offender profiling.
Yaksic, E. (2020), "Evaluating the use of data-based offender profiling by researchers, practitioners and investigative journalists to address unresolved serial homicides", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 123-144. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCP-09-2019-0032
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