It's no riddle, choose the middle: The effect of number of crimes and topographical detail on police officer predictions of serial burglars' home locations

Craig Bennell, Brent Snook, paul Taylor, Shevaun Corey, Julia Keyton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examines the effect of the number of crimes and topographical detail on police officer predictions of serial burglars? home locations. Officers are given 36 maps depicting three, five, or seven crime sites and topographical or no topographical details. They are asked to predict, by marking an X on the map, where they thought each burglar lived. After making their predictions on half of the maps, officers randomly receive either no training or training in one of two simple decision-making strategies. The accuracy of predictions at baseline and retest is measured as the distance between the predicted and actual home locations, and these accuracy scores are compared to a commonly used geographic profiling system. Results show that training significantly improved predictive accuracy, regardless of the number of crime locations or topographical detail presented. In addition, trained participants are as accurate as the geographic profiling system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-132
Number of pages14
JournalCriminal justice and behavior
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • geographic profiling
  • simple heuristics
  • police
  • decision making

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