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For students of crime and criminology, not to mention psychology and sociology, Geographic Offender Profiling is a relatively recent development in our attempts to understand the behaviour of serial offenders – from burglars to rapists to murderers.

Unlike it’s Criminal Offender Profiling counterpart, Geographic Profiling is less concerned with the psychology of the individual offender and more with understanding how and why offenders move through their social and physical environments. The basic inclination here is less to create a composite picture of a “serial offender” – particularly very serious serial offenders – that will lead the police to a criminal perpetrator and more as a way of aiding and enhancing police investigations of serial offences.

Geographical Offender Profiling, in this respect, is used by forces around the world to help focus police investigations into a connected series of crimes where there are no obvious suspects. It’s main role, in this respect, is to pinpoint the areas where a suspect is likely to live, work or play and, by so doing, aid the police in making an arrest.

This short, 10-minute, film features Dr. Spencer Chainey, Associate Professor at the world-renowned Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science and is designed to introduce students to the basic principles and key concepts of geographical profiling – least effort principle, distance decay, crime pattern theory and opportunity spaces – and their application to criminal investigations.

This is a standalone introduction to the principles and theories of Geographical Offender Profiling and it can be used to complement the subsequent film “Geographical Profiling Applied: the M25 Rapist“. The latter uses the case of Antoni Imiela, the so-called M25 Rapist, to demonstrate how the various principles of Geographic Offender Profiling outlined in the first film have been applied to a real criminal investigation in the UK.

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