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NCJ Number: 220376 Find in a Library
Title: Psychology of Linking Crimes: A Review of the Evidence
Journal: Legal and Criminologcial Psychology  Volume:12  Issue:Part 2  Dated:September 2007  Pages:233-249
Author(s): Jessica Woodhams; Clive R. Hollin; Ray Bull
Date Published: September 2007
Page Count: 17
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: In an attempt to offer a better understanding of the process of linking crimes, this review draws together diverse published studies by outlining what the process involves, critically examining its underlying psychological assumptions and reviewing the empirical research conducted on its viability.
Abstract: Available research gives some support to the assumption of consistency in criminals’ behavior. It also suggests that in comparison with intra-individual variation in behavior, inter-individual variation is sufficient for the offenses of one offender to be distinguished from those of other offenders. Thus, the results of this review support the two fundamental assumptions underlying the practice of linking crimes, behavioral consistency, and inter-individual variation. However, not all behaviors show the same degree of consistency, with behaviors that are less situation-dependent, and hence more offender-initiated, showing greater consistency. In summary, the limited research regarding linking offenders’ crimes appears promising at both a theoretical and an empirical level. Case linkage is a form of behavioral analysis involving crime analysts making predictions about whether offenses have a common offender based on their assessment of behavioral similarity across crimes. With analysts making predictions about the stability of an offender’s behavior across situations, theories underlying case linkage can be grounded in personality psychology in contrast to other forensic psychological practices. In contrast, the preliminary research conducted thus far on case linkage is directly testing the validity of the assumptions of behavioral consistency and inter-individual behavioral variation. With a concern for a better understanding of the case linkage process, literature searches were completed on the electronic databases, PsychInfo and Criminal Justice Abstracts, to identify theoretical and empirical papers relating to the practice of linking crimes and to behavioral consistency. References
Main Term(s): Offender profiles
Index Term(s): Behavior patterns; Behavior typologies; Comparative criminology; Criminology; Forensic psychology; Individual behavior; Offense characteristics; Psychological evaluation
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