A Special Issue of Police Practice and Research: Geographic Profiling

Ronald E. Wilson and Christopher D. Maxwell, eds.
Volume 8, Number 4, Fall 2007

Geographic profiling is an emerging investigative technique that combines criminological theory, technology, and patrol strategy to help law enforcement identify and locate serial offenders. Using information from a series of related crimes, a geographic profiler analyzes the location of each crime to identify where an offender most likely lives, works, or spends time.

This technique is now at the center of an important debate that asks: Is geographic profiling effective? What school of thought and approach should be emphasized and applied?

Edited by Ron Wilson, who manages the National Institute of Justice’s Mapping and Analysis for Public Safety Program and Data Resources, and Chris Maxwell, director of the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data at the University of Michigan, this special issue of Police Practice and Research explores topics critical to this debate, including:

  • The theoretical background, available technology, strengths and limitations, and difficulties in evaluating the effectiveness of geographic profiling.
  • The two primary schools of geographic profiling thought.
  • Determining whether the offender is a commuter or a marauder.
  • Geoforensic analysis.
  • An evaluation of six geographic profiling methods.

The issue also reviews books on geographic profiling. For more information, see www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/15614263.asp