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Linking crimes with spatial behavior: A need to tackle some remaining methodological concerns

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Publication date1/01/2014
Host publicationCrime Linkage: Theory, Research, and Practice
EditorsJessica Woodhams, Craig Bennell
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages23
ISBN (electronic)9781466506763
ISBN (print)9781466506756
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Crime linkage analysis research suggests that offender spatial behavior is one of the best predictors of whether or not the same offender committed two crimes (Bennell & Canter, 2002). A review of the linking studies that includes spatial behavior as one of its predictors shows that it is the only cue that differentiates linked and unlinked crimes consistently. Specifically, it has been shown that a decrease in the distance between two crime locations increases the probability that the same offender committed those crimes. Although a seemingly robust finding, it is our contention that a number of methodological concerns need to be tackled before it is possible to conclude with any degree of certainty that spatial behavior (as a linking cue) is of practical value to law enforcement officers or that other cues are relatively inferior for connecting crimes.