Geographic profiling: Advances in arson investigation

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Book Chapter

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Citation only

Fritzon, K., Santtila, P, & Laukkanen, M. (2016). Geographic profiling: Advances in arson investigation. In R. M. Doley, G. L. Dickens, & T. A. Gannon (Eds.), The Psychology of arson: A practical guide to understanding and managing deliberate firesetters (pp. 119-130). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

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2016 HERDC submission

© Copyright, Rebekah M. Doley, Geoffrey L. Dickens and Theresa A. Gannon, 2016




Key points:

• Geographic profiling involves the analysis of crime site information to establish the most likely area of offender residence or base of operations. However, few empirical studies have investigated the spatial behaviour of arsonists in particular, and the findings so far about distance from base to firesetting are somewhat mixed.

• Evidence about conformity with commuter subtype behaviour, the extent to which arsonists travel to set fires, is also mixed. Arsonists whose behaviour is driven by expressive motivations set fires closer to home than instrumental arsonists.

• All existing studies are reliant on small samples, which means findings are likely to be unrepresentative of all arson offenders. Further examination of behavioural and psychological variables and their impact on the spatial behaviour of arsonists is required. Geographic profiling methods, computerised and empirical, require further validation.

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This document has been peer reviewed.