Search results

1 – 10 of over 2000
Article
Publication date: 1 August 2005

Nathan Gregory

All societies in the modern world are troubled by crime, and the general public is equally fascinated by criminals and fearful of criminal behaviour. In the United…

2848

Abstract

All societies in the modern world are troubled by crime, and the general public is equally fascinated by criminals and fearful of criminal behaviour. In the United Kingdom, events such as the murders of Jack the Ripper, the Yorkshire Ripper and Harold Shipman, and the Soham tragedy, coupled with film and television programmes including Silence of the Lambs, Cracker and Crime Scene Investigation, have fuelled the public's consciousness of the criminal mind.In the fight against crime, the development of offender profiling by the FBI in the USA has further captured people's imagination. The technique was introduced to help law enforcement agencies solve serious crimes such as serial rape or murder, and to a lesser extent arson and property crime. At the heart of profiling lies the belief that by combining psychological principles with crime scene analysis, it is possible to identify the likely characteristics of a perpetrator.Although advances in crime detection are welcomed, the profiling field appears riddled with contradiction and disagreement. Social scientists argue that the discipline is unscientific due to methodologically weak research, while police officers appear sceptical about its benefits for solving crime. In Britain, profiling has witnessed both notable successes, for example Canter's profile of the serial rapist and murderer John Duffy, and dramatic failures, such as the Colin Stagg profile in the Rachel Nickell inquiry. This article reviews the offender profiling literature, examines its applicability in the legal system and identifies areas for future research.

Details

The British Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6646

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2006

Derek J. Paulsen

The purpose of this paper is to conduct an independent analysis of all existing geographic profiling software packages to determine if any one is more accurate than the…

2444

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to conduct an independent analysis of all existing geographic profiling software packages to determine if any one is more accurate than the others or if any of the software systems are any more accurate than simple spatial distribution strategies at locating the home base of serial offenders.

Design/methodology/approach

An analysis was conducted of all existing geographic profiling software as well as three spatial distribution methods of profiling. Differences in accuracy were assessed using four different methods; dichotomous profile accuracy, simple error measurement, profile error distance, and average top profile area.

Findings

Results indicate that not only are the different profiling software systems no more accurate than the spatial distribution control methods, but that accuracy in general was marginal at best. In addition results indicated that certain crimes, such as commercial robbery, were particularly difficult to profile and that the number of crimes in a series was not by itself a good indicator of success of a profile.

Research limitations/implications

The paper shows that future research needs to focus more on determining how various factors such as city type, crime type, road network and spatial aspects of a crime series (dispersion and search area) impact profiling accuracy. In addition future research should also endeavor to determine whether these advanced strategies are substantially more accurate than other simple profiling strategies such as human prediction. Finally, future research should also seek to examine geographic profiling in a real world setting and how geographic profiling impacts the success of open investigations.

Practical implications

Practically, this study casts doubt not only on the overall accuracy of profiling strategies in predicting the likely home location of an offender, but also on whether probability strategies are substantially better than spatial distribution strategies.

Originality/value

This research was the first to independently analyze all of the existing geographic profiling systems against control methods for the purpose of determining the accuracy of these different methods.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 February 2020

Enzo Yaksic

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…

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 September 2019

Valeria Abreu, Edward Barker, Hannah Dickson, Francois Husson, Sandra Flynn and Jennifer Shaw

The purpose of this paper is to identify offender typologies based on aspects of the offenders’ psychopathology and their associations with crime scene behaviours using…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify offender typologies based on aspects of the offenders’ psychopathology and their associations with crime scene behaviours using data derived from the National Confidential Enquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health concerning homicides in England and Wales committed by offenders in contact with mental health services in the year preceding the offence (n=759).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used multiple correspondence analysis to investigate the interrelationships between the variables and hierarchical agglomerative clustering to identify offender typologies. Variables describing: the offenders’ mental health histories; the offenders’ mental state at the time of offence; characteristics useful for police investigations; and patterns of crime scene behaviours were included.

Findings

Results showed differences in the offenders’ histories in relation to their crime scene behaviours. Further, analyses revealed three homicide typologies: externalising, psychosis and depression.

Practical implications

These typologies may assist the police during homicide investigations by: furthering their understanding of the crime or likely suspect; offering insights into crime patterns; provide advice as to what an offender’s offence behaviour might signify about his/her mental health background. Findings suggest information concerning offender psychopathology may be useful for offender profiling purposes in cases of homicide offenders with schizophrenia, depression and comorbid diagnosis of personality disorder and alcohol/drug dependence.

Originality/value

Empirical studies with an emphasis on offender profiling have almost exclusively focussed on the inference of offender demographic characteristics. This study provides a first step in the exploration of offender psychopathology and its integration to the multivariate analysis of offence information for the purposes of investigative profiling of homicide by identifying the dominant patterns of mental illness within homicidal behaviour.

Details

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3841

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 February 2017

Eric Beauregard, Irina Busina and Jay Healey

Although offender profiling has been cited as an effective tool to interview suspects, empirical profiling methods have completely excluded interviewing suggestions when…

Abstract

Purpose

Although offender profiling has been cited as an effective tool to interview suspects, empirical profiling methods have completely excluded interviewing suggestions when testing the validity of this technique. The purpose of this paper is to explore the utility of empirically derived profiles of offender- and victim-related sexual assault case characteristics (n=624) in the preparation of the interrogation strategies in sexual assault investigations.

Design/methodology/approach

Latent class analysis was used to extract profiles of offender- and victim-related sexual assault case characteristics in a sample of 624 incarcerated sex offenders. Moreover, relationships between offender and victim profiles were conducted using χ2 analyses.

Findings

Findings show that specific offender-victim profiles are related to greater likelihood of confession during the interrogation. Possible interrogation strategies for each profile are suggested and implications for the practice of interviewing suspects are discussed.

Originality/value

The study is the first to examine both victim and offender profiles in order to assess the significant victim-offender profile combinations and their associated probabilities of resulting in confession.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 November 2012

Ashley Hewitt, Eric Beauregard and Garth Davies

Factors influencing crime location choices are not only significant to rape investigations, but they are especially important for geographic profiling. The purpose of the…

1962

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 35 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 January 2021

Ashley N. Hewitt, Eric Beauregard and Jonghan Sea

Early classification systems of fire setting have suffered from several limitations, including the lack of empirical validation and the focus mainly on the offender

Abstract

Purpose

Early classification systems of fire setting have suffered from several limitations, including the lack of empirical validation and the focus mainly on the offender motivation behind this type of crime. More recent research shows that looking at the crime scene behaviors may present a more fruitful approach for helping to solve fire setting offenses. The purpose of this study is to advance current scholarship by developing a new typology of fire setting based on the combination of offender motive and crime scene behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach

Latent class analyses were used with a sample of 134 fire setters who committed 275 arsons from the Korean National Police Agency to identify distinct fire setter motivations and crime scene contexts. Chi-square and crosstabulation analysis were then conducted to determine whether crime scene behaviors were associated with distinct offender motives and vice versa. Lastly, to improve the external validity of each of the latent classes, chi-square analyses were performed using variables related to the fire setters' criminal history, sociodemographic characteristics and arson classification.

Findings

Five motive subtypes were identified as well as five distinct crime scene contexts in which serial fire setting occurs. A significant association among these classes suggests that it is possible to infer fire setters’ motive from crime scene behavior and vice versa.

Originality/value

This comprehensive typology of fire setters has potential for profiling of unknown offenders as well as for suspect prioritization in police investigations.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 August 2015

Tom Pakkanen, Angelo Zappalà, Dario Bosco, Andrea Berti and Pekka Santtila

The purpose of this paper is to explore the differences (if any) between serial and hard-to-solve one-off homicides, and to determine if it is possible to distinguish the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the differences (if any) between serial and hard-to-solve one-off homicides, and to determine if it is possible to distinguish the two types of homicides based on offence behaviours and victim characteristics.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 116 Italian serial homicides was compared to 45 hard-to-solve one-off homicides. Hard-to-solve one-off homicides were defined as having at least 72 hours pass between when the offence came to the knowledge of the police and when the offender was caught. Logistic regression was used to predict whether a killing was part of a series or a one-off offence.

Findings

The serial killers targeted more strangers and prostitutes, displayed a higher level of forensic awareness both before and after the killing, and had more often an apparent sexual element in their offence. Conversely, the one-off homicides were found to include more traits indicative of impulsive and expressive behaviour. The model demonstrated a good ability (AUC=0.88) to predict whether a homicide belonged to the serial or one-off category.

Research limitations/implications

The findings should be replicated using local homicide data to maximise the validity of the model in countries outside of Italy.

Practical implications

Being able to distinguish between serial and one-off homicides based on information available at a new crime scene could be practically useful for homicide investigators managing finite resources.

Originality/value

Studies comparing serial homicides to one-off homicides are scarce, and there are no studies explicitly trying to predict whether a homicide is an isolated case or part of a series.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 September 2017

Christopher Burris and Sherilyn Edwards

Based on the previously observed link between greater facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) and interpersonal aggression in men (see Haselhuhn et al., 2015), the purpose of…

Abstract

Purpose

Based on the previously observed link between greater facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) and interpersonal aggression in men (see Haselhuhn et al., 2015), the purpose of this paper is to test whether fWHR could differentiate among male offenders as a function of the relative aggressiveness of the crime for which they had been convicted.

Design/methodology/approach

fWHR measurements (n=550) were computed based on a large subset of male offenders available on a public domain database. Each offender’s index offense and possible confounding variables such as age, ethnicity, and body mass index were also recorded.

Findings

Multiple analyses yielded no evidence of a relationship between male fWHR and the comparative level of violence of their conviction offense.

Originality/value

Establishing an empirical basis for probable parameters of an unknown offender’s facial structure could have a considerable practical value for criminal profiling purposes. fWHR – at least as it has been most frequently assessed – does not appear to be a facial parameter that is useful for this purpose, however.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 2016

Carrie Trojan and Gabrielle Salfati

The purpose of this paper is to determine how offenses co-occur in the backgrounds of homicide offenders and if identified groups of offenses reflect an underlying…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine how offenses co-occur in the backgrounds of homicide offenders and if identified groups of offenses reflect an underlying theoretical construct or theme; and to determine if offenders specialize in thematically similar offenses.

Design/methodology/approach

The previous convictions of 122 single-victim homicide offenders were examined using smallest space analysis to identify groups of co-occurring offenses across offenders’ criminal histories.

Findings

The results showed a thematic distinction between violent vs instrumental offenses and 84 percent of offenders specialized in offenses within a single dominant theme, suggesting that the framework can differentiate the majority of offenders’ criminal backgrounds. Possible sub-themes were identified that could suggest further demarcation of the themes and provide a more refined framework that may be of even greater utility in differentiating offenders.

Research limitations/implications

This study utilized data from a single American city that may affect generalizability of the findings. The exclusion of a timeline for prior offending precludes consideration of offending escalation.

Originality/value

The current study uses an alternative approach to conceptualize specialization according to how offenses co-occur in the backgrounds of homicide offenders. This approach is less restrictive than considering the offenses in isolation to one another and may be of greater utility in empirically derived offender profiling models. The thematic framework developed herein can act as a foundation for future studies.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

Keywords

1 – 10 of over 2000