Geographic profiling survey: a preliminary examination of geographic profilers' views and experiences

Karla Emeno, Craig Bennell, Brent Snook, Paul Jonathon Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Geographic profiling (GP) is an investigative technique that involves predicting a serial offender?s home location (or some other anchor point) based on where he or she committed a crime. Although the use of GP in police investigations appears to be on the rise, little is known about the procedure and how it is used. To examine these issues, a survey was distributed internationally to police professionals who have contributed GP advice to police investigations. The survey consisted of questions designed to assess: (a) how geographic profiles are constructed, (b) the perceived usefulness and accuracy of GP, (c) whether core GP conditions are examined before profiles are constructed, and (d) the types of cases in which GP is used. The results suggest that geographic profiles are commonly used in operational settings for a wide range of crime types. This appears to be true even when GP conditions are violated. In addition, general perceptions of GP accuracy and
usefulness appear to be high, but this is particularly true for respondents who use computerized GP systems (compared with spatial distribution strategies, such as centroids, or educated guesses). Computerized GP systems are also the most commonly used GP approach among our respondents, especially for those who have received formal training in GP.
Although preliminary in nature, the results from this study help enhance understanding of how GP is used in police investigations around the world, and under what conditions. The survey also provides directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Police Science and Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


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