Testing the Behavioural and Environmental Consistency of Serial Sex Offenders: A Signature Approach

E. Harbers, N. Deslauriers-Varin, E. Beauregard, J.J. van der Kemp

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present study examines consistency of crime behaviour among 347 sexual assaults committed by 69 serial sex offenders. This individual behaviour approach-the so-called signature approach-reveals which features of crime behaviour are consistent across a series and which features are not. The consistency scores were calculated using the Jaccard's coefficient. The results of this study indicate that there are some crime features of a serial sexual assault that can be useful for the purpose of linkage. Another important finding is that consistency scores for different variables within the same category can differ substantially. Moreover, serial sex offenders are more likely to be consistent in their environmental crime features when they are also consistent in their behavioural features, and vice versa. Serial sex offenders are also more likely to be consistent in the behavioural features of their assaults as the crime series gets longer. The implications of the results are discussed in relation to both research and practise. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd..
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-273
JournalJournal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling
Issue number3
Early online date10 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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