| Link to article in Journal of Criminal Justice |
Abstract Purpose: The study examines whether the use of forensic awareness strategies increases the chance of avoiding police detection in sexual homicide. Methods: Logistic and negative binomial regression analyses are used on a sample of 350 cases of sexual homicide – 250 solved and 100 unsolved cases – in order to determine if forensic awareness strategies are related to the status of the case (i.e., solved versus unsolved) and the number of days before body recovery, while controlling for certain victim characteristics. Results: Although an offender’s use of precautions does not seem to increase the offender’s chance of avoiding police detection, some modus operandi behavior adopted by the offender at the crime scene may help to delay the discovery of the victim, and thus delay the offender’s apprehension. Moreover, the likelihood of whether or not a sexual murderer is apprehended varied significantly across victim characteristics. Conclusion: Some offenders seem to exhibit rational thinking in targeting certain types of victims and in adopting certain strategies in order to delay body recovery. Number of days until body recovery is a more appropriate measure of detection avoidance than case status, as it is not biased by administrative rules or timing of data entry.