| Link to article in Psychology, Crime and Law |
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Abstract This paper discusses the development of a filter model for prioritizing possible links in dwelling burglary. The filters utilize the central aspects of crime scene information that is available and accessible to investigators in burglary, namely geo-spatial, temporal, behavioural, and dwelling information. The proposed filters were analysed using a sample of 215 dwelling burglaries committed by 43 serial burglars (i.e. 5 offences each) in order to determine the sequence in which the filters should be considered in prioritizing possible linked offences. The results indicated that the following order (i.e. better performance to worse performance) was most effective at linking offences, utilizing: (1) geo-spatial information, (2) temporal aspects, (3) behavioural information and, lastly, (4) dwelling characteristics. Specifically, the results indicated that offences in close proximity to one another should be given priority. Further, any offence occurring within a 28-day span before or after the index offence should be given priority. The paper argues that behavioural and dwelling characteristics are less effective for linking than geo-spatial and temporal information because the former two aspects are influenced significantly by situational and contextual cues on offender decision-making.