Testing the utility of a geographical profiling approach in three rape series of a single offender: a case study

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Santtila P, Zappalà A, Laukkanen M, Picozzi M
Publication year: 2003
Journal: Forensic Science International
Journal acronym: Forensic Sci Int
Volume number: 131
Issue number: 1
Start page: 42
End page: 52
ISSN: 0379-0738


The purpose of the study was to test the potential utility of a geographical profiling approach for three separate series of rapes committed by a single offender. Two different mathematical distance-decay functions using either a normal distribution with a mean distance and standard deviation based on previous research or a truncated negative exponential function based on distances between crime sites in the series under investigation were applied to each of the series giving prioritised search areas the accuracy of which was then assessed. The prioritised area that had to be searched before the home base of the offender could be located varied from 7.60 km(2) or 2.15% of the total search area at its best to 15 1.10 km(2) or 42.66% at its worst for the normal distribution based on previous research and from 42.06 km(2) or 11.88% to no improvement when the truncated negative exponential function was used. The functions used showed less predictive ability when the offender was a commuter. Explanations for the variations in the findings as well as suggestions for improvements were outlined in the discussion.

Last updated on 2020-21-09 at 06:49