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Investigating Offending Consistency of Geographic and Environmental Factors Among Serial Sex Offenders: A Comparison of Multiple Analytical Strategies

Nadine Deslauriers-Varin and Eric Beauregard

Criminal Justice and Behavior; February 2013, vol. 40, no. 2, 156-179.



Crime linkage analysis constitutes a tool to help investigators prioritize suspects, but a scarcity of research and methodological issues limits our knowledge on behavioral consistency in sexual offenses. The current study identifies geographic and environmental factors that are useful in examining offending consistency across series of sexual assaults using different specialization coefficients. The current study draws on criminal career research and methodology as a way to improve the study of behavioral consistency. The sample includes 72 serial stranger sex offenders who have committed a total of 361 sexual assaults. Three methods are used (i.e., diversity index, forward specialization coefficient, and Jaccard's coefficient) and reveal a high degree of offending consistency. All three methods also highlight promising factors to rely on for crime linkage of serial sexual offenses. Empirical and methodological implications for behavioral consistency research are discussed as well as practical implications for police investigations and crime linkage.



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