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On the complexity and accuracy of geographic profiling strategies

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Associated organisational unit

Journal publication date1/01/2005
JournalJournal of Quantitative Criminology
Number of pages26
Original languageEnglish


Geographic profilers have access to a repertoire of strategies for predicting a serial offenders home location. These strategies range in complexity—some involve more calculations to implement than others—and the assumption often made is that more complex strategies will outperform simpler strategies. In the present study, we tested the relationship between the complexity and accuracy of 11 strategies. Data were crime site and home locations of 16 UK residential burglars who had committed 10 or more crimes each. The results indicated that strategy complexity was not positively related to accuracy. This was also found to be the case across tasks that ranged in complexity (where complexity was determined by the number of crimes used to make a prediction). Implications for police policies and procedures, as well as our understanding of human decision-making, are discussed.

Bibliographic note

Taylor conducted the analysis with Zito (Computer Science, Liverpool) and shared lead authorship of the manuscript with Snook and Bennell. Taylor presented the research at SPCP in 2005 where it won the Earl Scheafer Best Research Paper Award. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Psychology