Modus via. Moving beyond the journey-to-crime to fine-tune geographical offender profiling. Geographical offender profiling, a method to predict to most likely anchor point of an offender based on an analysis of his crime locations, can possibly increase the efficiency of police investigations. By determining areas where the investigation might prove most fruitful in finding the offender, the police can deploy neighborhood canvasses, DNA-searches or database-inquiries efficiently by targeting a specific area. The main assumption of geographical offender profiling is that an offender commits crimes related to the anchor points in his routine activities (i.e. Crime Pattern Theory). When an offender commits a series of crimes the end of his journeys-to-crimes the crime site will therefore be related to these anchor points. This makes it possible to relate the crime locations to an offender’s anchor point. The current methods of geographical offender profiling focus on an analysis of the crime locations pattern and are either based on distance decay functions or central tendency measures to mathematically reverse the journey-to-crime. Due to this focus on the mathematics little attention is given to characteristics of the crime such as the time when the crime is committed or the target backcloth that could provide useful information about the offender’s geographical behavior. Modus via is used to describe the manner in which the offender geographically behaves when committing his crime. Similar to modus operandi modus via can add focus on specific information of the crimes and the crime locations surroundings that might be available in criminal investigations. To move geographical offender profiling beyond the focus on the journey-to-crime I propose the use of the modus via to fine-tune geographical offender profiling. By using this information about the behavioral geography of the offender weights can be appointed to crime locations to fine-tune the geographical offender profile. This paper will address the possibilities of fine-tuning geographical offender profiling by using the modus via. Illustrated with a case study and supported by the results of empirical studies on the geographical patterns of crime series, I will present the theoretical and methodological framework in this paper.
11 Apr 2012
21st Conference of the European Association of Psychology and Law