Geographical Profiling Assumptions

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  1. What are the issues with opportunity distributions?
    • Difficult to include context into calculations 
    • Inappropriate distance measures could be used 
    • The distribution of criminal opportunities in an area is not measured (although the overlaying of the offender mental map and target distribution can help generate high risk areas)
    • Situational factors are not fully taken into account
  2. What are the issues with distance decay?
    • Rely on decay functions and buffer zones, these are not always followed; people aren't entirely rational 
    • The aggregate distance decay curve is assumed to be representative of all criminals in the area
  3. How have offender profiling been compared to a machine?
    • Snook et al (2004)
    • Crimestat negative exponential function used 
    • 10 maps and 3 murder locations analysed randomly, using decay and circle theory group 
    • Error distance calculated for each 
    • Both significantly more accurate than the control
    • Decay significantly more accurate than circle theory
  4. How has the accuracy of these methods been investigated?
    • Snook et al (2005)
    • Calculated the accuracy for different strategies ranging from basic spatial distribution to sophisticated probability distance 
    • Truncated negative exponential was the most effective and the centre of the circle was the least (more than 1km less)
  5. Can geographical profiling be used for terrorist attacks?
    • Yes and no (Bennell & Corey, 2007)
    • Studied Action Directe (a french communist terrorist group in the 80s) and The revolutionary people's group (a Greek paramilitary organisation in the 60s and 70s)
    • Concluded that it may be possible but only under certain conditions
    • Major assumptions are violated by some terrorist groups (Action Directe used extreme commuter tactics, travelling to different countries rendering the approach almost useless)
    • Did work for the people's struggle as there was less commuting 
    • Suggests that it could be used for internal, not external terrorism
  6. Can Geographical profiling be used for counter-insurgency?
    • Kucera (2005)
    • US National Technology Alliance conducted assessments to test the efficacy of geographical profile four counter insurgency tactics
    • Used Rigel (geographical profiling software)
    • 50 IED incidents first analysed using intel from active units 
    • Successfully narrowed down to 8 sites then to one man who was caught fleeing 
    • Also used on a period of 30 days arms attack
    • Determined some attacks were specially constrained en route to the airport 
    • Successfully allowed soldiers to locate areas in which supply centres for weapons and explosives were located
  7. What are the limitations of profiling systems?
    • Relies on accurate data and the successful linkage of offences that cannot always be made 
    • Only based on caught offenders, not applicable to those who evade capture 
    • Data are skewed towards easy to catch criminals (close to home) so less is known bout commuters 
    • Ignores individual differences that affect awareness space
Card Set:
Geographical Profiling Assumptions
2015-04-05 21:57:36
Psychology Criminology
Psychology,Forensic Psychology
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