What is Geographic Profiling?

Geographic profiling is an investigative technique used by forensic scientists to spot patterns within serial criminals. By mapping where a series of crimes have taken place, geographic profiling determines where the location of the next crime will be and attempts to prevent  the crime. Geographic profiling can inform investigators on where to stake out, where to set traps and where to find potential witnesses.

Geographic profiling looks for three points:

  • The anchor point is where the crime occurs.
  • The criminal’s home to which the criminal will retreat to.
  • The buffer zone surrounding the criminal’s home where the criminal is less likely to commit a crime.

However, geographic profiling relies on the idea that criminals have a home base to return to, and that they will commit crimes outside of that home base.

This website examines four different prominent U.S. serial killers. The pins on the map indicate where a crimes take place. Still, in the cases included, many of the crimes disprove the theories that the geographic profiling relies on.