Features of Geographical Profiling within Law Enforcement Agencies

  • O. V. Manzhai Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs
  • A. O. Potylchak Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs
Keywords: serial crimes, witness mark (point of reference), geographical profiling, methods, crime combating


The tools, organization and tactics of conducting geographical profiling of serial crimes have been analyzed. Theoretical basis for compiling geographical profiles has been outlined. Some elements of criminological theories of standard activity, rational choice and modeling of crimes have been briefly revealed. Types of spatial criminal behavior have been outlined. The author has presented an algorithm for determining the type of serial offender for the correct compilation of a geographical profile. The general algorithm of geographical profiling and the procedure of calculation of key distances have been outlined. The author has stated the need to take into account local factors for the correct compilation of the geographical profile; has analyzed the suitability of the application of geographical profiling for different categories of crimes. Some organizational and tactical techniques and methods of compiling geographical profiles have been revealed and several scientific approaches to such activities have been considered. Peculiarities of the application of thermal maps during the preparation of geographical profiles have been revealed. Empirical material on determining the distances from the witness marks to crime scenes for different types of offenses, as well as the impact of different socio-demographic factors on these distances. Some programming solutions for the implementation of geographical profiling tasks have been studied. The author has analyzed the possibility of applying geographical profiling methods to crimes that can be committed remotely (cybercrime, telephone fraud, etc.). The author has provided successful and unsuccessful examples, which reveal the approaches to the implementation of geographical profiling. The conditions and factors that must be taken into account while compiling profiles have been outlined. It has been concluded that it is necessary to strengthen the use of geographical profiling tools in Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. The author has outlined some measures that will contribute it.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

O. V. Manzhai, Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs

Department of information technologies and cybersecurity (associate professor);
Candidate (Ph.D.) of Juridical Sciences, Docent.

A. O. Potylchak, Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs

Department of operative and search activity and crime detection (postgraduate).


Canter D. and Youngs D., 2008. Principles of Geographical Offender Profiling. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315246086.

Lino D., Calado B., Belchior D., Cruz M. and Lobato A., 2018. Geographical offender profiling: Dragnet’s applicability on a Brazilian sample. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, Vol. 4, Iss. 2, pp. 149-161. https://doi.org/10.1002/jip.1497.

Weisburd D. and Lum C., 2005. The Diffusion of Computerized Crime Mapping in Policing: Linking Research and Practice. Police Practice and Research, Vol. 6, Iss. 5, pp. 419-434. https://doi.org/10.1080/15614260500433004.

Velarde L., 2016. The Use of Geographic Profiling in Crime Analysis. Crime Mapping & Analysis News, [online] Iss. 5, pp. 5-9. Available at https://crimemapping.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/CMAN-Issue-5.pdf [Accessed 8 September 2020].

Ratcliffe J.H. and Guidetti R., 2008. State police investigative structure and the adoption of intelligence-led policing. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, Vol. 31, Iss. 1, pp. 109-128. https://doi.org/10.1108/13639510810852602.

Rossmo D.K., 2014. Geographic Profiling. In: Bruinsma G. and Weisburd D. (eds). Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. New York: Springer. Pp. 1934-1942. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_678.

Cohen L.E. and Felson M., 1979. Social Change and Crime Rate Trends: A Routine Activity Approach. American Sociological Review, Vol. 44, Iss. 4, pp. 588-608. https://doi.org/10.2307/2094589.

Cornish D.B. and Clarke R.V., 1986. The Reasoning Criminal: Rational Choice Perspectives on Offending. New York: Springer-Verlag. Available at https://www.worldcat.org/title/reasoning-criminal-rational-choice-perspectives-on-offending/oclc/13095583 [Accessed 8 September 2020].

Ratcliffe J.H., 2004. Crime Mapping and the Training Needs of Law Enforcement. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, Vol. 10, Iss. 1, pp. 65-83. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:CRIM.0000037550.40559.1c.

Brantingham P.L. and Brantingham P.J., 1981. Mobility, Notoriety, and Crime: A Study in the Crime Patterns of Urban Nodal Points. Journal of Environmental Systems, Vol. 11, Iss. 1, pp. 89-99. https://doi.org/10.2190/DTHJ-ERNN-HVCV-6K5T.

Grossrieder L. and Ribaux O., 2017. Towards Forensic Whistleblowing? From Traces to Intelligence. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, Vol. 13, Iss. 1, pp. 80-93. https://doi.org/10.1093/police/pax039.

Canter D. and Larkin P., 1993. The environmental range of serial rapists. Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 13, Iss. 1, pp. 63-69. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0272-4944(05)80215-4.

Paulsen D., 2007. Improving Geographic Profiling through Commuter/Marauder Prediction. Police Practice and Research, Vol. 8, Iss. 4, pp. 347-357. https://doi.org/10.1080/15614260701615045.

Canter D. and Hammond L., 2007. Prioritizing Burglars: Comparing the Effectiveness of Geographical Profiling Methods. Police Practice and Research, Vol. 8, Iss. 4, pp. 371-384. https://doi.org/10.1080/15614260701615086.

Leitner M., Kent J., Oldfield I. and Swoope E., 2007. Geoforensic Analysis Revisited – The Application of Newton’s Geographic Profiling Method to Serial Burglaries in London, UK. Police Practice and Research, Vol. 8, Iss. 4, pp. 359-370. https://doi.org/10.1080/15614260701615060.

Rossmo D. K., 1995. Geographic profiling: target patterns of serial murderers. Canada: Simon Fraser University. Available at http://summit.sfu.ca/system/files/iritems1/6820/b17675819.pdf [Accessed 8 September 2020].

Manhattan distance. [online] Wiktionary. Available at https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Manhattan_distance [Accessed 8 September 2020].

Simkin M.V. and Roychowdhury V.P., 2014. Stochastic modeling of a serial killer. Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 355, pp. 111-116. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2014.03.039.

Drawve G., Belongie M. and Steinman H., 2017. The Role of Crime Analyst and Researcher Partnerships: A Training Exercise in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, Vol. 12, Iss. 3, pp. 277-287. https://doi.org/10.1093/police/pax092.

Canter D., Coffey T., Huntley M. and Missen C., 2000. Predicting Serial Killers’ Home Base Using a Decision Support System. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Vol. 16, Iss. 4, pp. 457-478. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007551316253.

Kocsis R.N., 2006. Criminal Profiling: Principles and Practice. New Jersey: Humana Press Inc.

Ratcliffe J.H., 2003. Suburb boundaries and residential burglars. Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice, No. 246. Available at https://aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi246 [Accessed 8 September 2020].

Rossmo D.K., 2000. Geographic Profiling. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Laukkanen M., 2007. Geographic Profiling: Using home to crime distances and crime features to predict offender home location. Abo Akademi University. Available at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Manne_Laukkanen/publication/274697121_Geographic_Profiling_Using_home_to_crime_distances_and_crime_features_to_predict_offender_home_location/links/55254bfa0cf24fc7fdeea83b/Geographic-Profiling-Using-home-to-crime-distances-and-crime-features-to-predict-offender-home-location.pdf?origin=publication_detail [Accessed 8 September 2020].

Harries K. and LeBeau J., 2007. Issues in the Geographic Profiling of Crime: Review and Commentary. Police Practice and Research, Vol. 8, Iss. 4, pp. 321-333. https://doi.org/10.1080/15614260701615029.

Beauregard E., Proulx J. and Rossmo D.K., 2005. Spatial patterns of sex offenders: Theoretical, empirical, and practical issues. Aggression and Violent Behavior, Vol. 10, Iss. 5, pp. 579-603. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2004.12.003.

Wilson R.E. and Maxwell C.D., 2007. Research in Geographic Profiling: Remarks from the Guest Editors. Police Practice and Research, Vol. 8, Iss. 4, pp. 335-345. https://doi.org/10.1080/15614260701615003.

Butkovic A., Mrdovic S., Uludag S. and Tanovic A., 2019. Geographic Profiling for serial cybercrime investigation. Digital Investigation, Vol. 28, pp. 176-182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.diin.2018.12.001.

How to Cite
Manzhai, O. V. and Potylchak, A. O. (2020) “Features of Geographical Profiling within Law Enforcement Agencies”, Law and Safety, 78(3), pp. 13-21. doi: 10.32631/pb.2020.3.01.