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Linkage analysis in cases of serial burglary: comparing the performance of university students, police professionals, and a logistic regression model

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Craig Bennell
  • Sarah Bloomfield
  • Brent Snook
  • Paul Taylor
  • Carolyn Barnes
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Psychology, Crime and Law
Issue number6
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)507-524
<mark>Original language</mark>English


University students, police professionals, and a logistic regression model were provided with information on 38 pairs of burglaries, 20% of which were committed by the same offender, in order to examine their ability to accurately identify linked serial burglaries. For each offense pair, the information included: (1) the offense locations as points on a map, (2) the distance (in km) between the two offenses, (3) entry methods, (4) target characteristics, and (5) property stolen. Half of the participants received training informing them that the likelihood of two offenses being committed by the same offender increases as the distance between the offenses decreases. Results showed that students outperformed police professionals, that training increased decision accuracy, and that the logistic regression model achieved the highest rate of success. Potential explanations for these results are presented, focusing primarily on the participants' use of offense information, and their implications are discussed.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Psychology, Crime and Law, 16 (6), 2010, © Informa Plc