On Descriptive and Predictive Models for Serial Crime Analysis

I have recently received my Ph.D. in Computer Science. My work is mainly in applied machine learning, lately focusing on the law enforcement domain. The following is the abstract for my Ph.D. thesis. It sums up the work I've been doing quite well. You can find my thesis here.

Law enforcement agencies regularly collect crime scene information. There exists, however, no detailed, systematic procedure for this. The data collected is affected by the experience or current condition of law enforcement officers. Consequently, the data collected might differ vastly between crime scenes. This is especially problematic when investigating volume crimes.

Law enforcement officers regularly do manual comparison on crimes based on the collected data. This is a time-consuming process; especially as the collected crime scene information might not always be comparable. The structuring of data and introduction of automatic comparison systems could benefit the investigation process. This thesis investigates descriptive and predictive models for automatic comparison of crime scene data with the purpose of aiding law enforcement investigations.

We investigate predictive and descriptive methods, applied to the domain of crime scene analysis. The focus is on detecting serial residential burglaries. Our research introduces a procedure for systematic collection of crime scene information. The thesis also investigates impact and relationship between crime scene characteristics and how to evaluate the descriptive model results.

The results suggest that the use of descriptive and predictive models can provide feedback for crime scene analysis that allows a more effective use of law enforcement resources. Using descriptive models based on crime characteristics, including Modus Operandi, allows law enforcement agents to filter cases intelligently. Further, by estimating the link probability between cases, law enforcement agents can focus on cases with higher link likelihood. This would allow a more effective use of law enforcement resources, potentially allowing an increase in clear-up rates.

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