skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 134597 Find in a Library
Title: Violent Crime Scene Analysis: Modus Operandi, Signature, and Staging
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:61  Issue:2  Dated:(February 1992)  Pages:1-10
Author(s): J E Douglas; C Munn
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Training (Aid/Material)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The modus operandi, signature, and staging aspects of an offender are discussed in the analysis of crime scenes in terms of human behavior.
Abstract: Learning to recognize crime scene manifestations or behavioral patterns enables investigators to characterize the offender and to distinguish between different offenders committing the same types of offenses. The modus operandi (MO) is a learned behavior that evolves over time as offenders gain experience and confidence. The offenders continually reshape their MOs to meet the demands of the crime, whereas the signature aspect remains a constant and enduring part of each offender. It may evolve in progression from crime to crime; or elements of the original ritual become more fully developed. The investigator may not always be able to identify the signature aspects as in cases of violent offenses involving high-risk victims or decomposition of the body, which complicates recognizing the signature aspects of an offender. Staging occurs when someone purposely alters the crime scene prior to the arrival of the police. It is done to direct the investigation away from the most logical suspect or to protect the victim or victims. 3 footnotes
Main Term(s): Behavior patterns; Offenders
Index Term(s): Crime Scene Investigation; Criminal methods; Violent crimes
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.