This paper uses statistical models to test directly the police practice of utilising modus operandi to link crimes to a common offender. Data from 86 solved commercial burglaries committed by 43 offenders are analysed using logistic regression analysis to identify behavioural features that reliably distinguish between linked and unlinked crime pairs. Receiver operating characteristic analysis is then used to assign each behavioural feature an overall level of predictive accuracy. The results indicate that certain features, in particular the distances between burglary locations, lead to high levels of predictive accuracy. This study therefore reveals some of the important consistencies in commercial burglary behaviour. These have theoretical value in helping to explain criminal activity. They also have practical value by providing the basis for a diagnostic tool that could be used in comparative case analysis.

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Science and Justice - Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Department of Psychology

Bennell, C, & Canter, D.V. (2002). Linking commercial burglaries by modus operandi: Tests using regression and ROC analysis. Science and Justice - Journal of the Forensic Science Society, 42(3), 153–164.