The technology of geographical profiling has, needless to say, evolved along with other aspects of technology in society. Advancements in mobile technology in the sense of being able to use pings off cell towers to verify or debunk suspects’ alibis and in the sense of making investigation in the field easier on investigators have significantly contributed to enhancements in geographical profiling.

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Technology and Criminal Profiling: Geographical Profiling

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Early work with regard to geographical profiling focused on using systematic analysis to identify or posit where an offender was likely to live based on the location(s) of the offender’s crime (Canter & Youngs, 2008). But the findings of such studies later broadened as further research and better technology became available; for example, researchers discovered that there are variations between the location(s) of crime and the offender’s home based on the type of crime (Canter & Youngs, 2008) as well as other influences such as the offender’s cultural identity and their capacity for international travel.

In addition to such uses of data generated by geographical profiling, technologies such as the Internet, multinational crime databases, and travel-related technology (like reservation systems for airlines) have been able to provide geographical profilers with infinitely more information which enhances their ability to create more accurate maps. Increasingly complex calculations and algorithms (which are most often handled by computers) (Snook, Zito, Bennell, & Taylor, 2005) have enabled profilers to create more detailed and accurate models (Canter & Youngs, 2008), 3D and otherwise, which has, in turn, generated even more data which allows profilers to make more accurate predictions or assessments of criminal behavior relative to locations. These developments have allowed law enforcement to not only identify offenders more effectively and quickly but law enforcement can also use such data to anticipate crimes and make decisions regarding the allocation of resources more effectively.

  • Canter, D. V., & Youngs, D. (Eds.). (2008). Applications of geographical offender profiling.
    Ashgate Publishing, Lt
  • Snook, B., Zito, M., Bennell, C., & Taylor, P. J. (2005). On the complexity and accuracy of
    geographic profiling strategies. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 21(1), 1-26. doi:10.1007/s10940-004-1785-4