Geographical offender profiling as an investigative method seems to have a lot of potential in making investigations more efficient. An analyses of the geographical distribution of crime sites can determine a likely anchor point of a serial offender and therefore focus the search for a suspect on a specific area. Most of the debate about geographical profiling has been about the mathematical models and measuring accuracy, but little attention has been given to adding psychology and so fine tuning geographical profiling (Van der Kemp & Van Koppen, 2007). Central in this debate are search strategies that are needed in order to make use of the mathematical predictions, the geographical profile maps. Although geographical offender profiling contains more than just maths, little is known about the process of creating geographical offender profiles beyond the mathematical analysis. But even less is known about the interpretation of geographical offender profile maps and the search strategies deployed. In an experiment we have searched for the search strategies used in different types of predictions by people without geographical profiling experience. We test the effect of simple training for the potential of improving the search for the offender. This allows us to investigate claims made about which method of profiling allows the best search strategies and sheds light on practical issues of geographical profiling predictions.
17 Jun 2010
20th Conference of the European Association of Psychology and Law