The Course of Case Linkage Never Did Run Smooth: A New Investigation to Tackle the Behavioural Changes in Serial Car Theft

Authors: Davies, K., Tonkin, M., Bull, R. and Bond, J.W.

Journal: Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling

Volume: 9

Issue: 3

Pages: 274-295

eISSN: 1544-4767

ISSN: 1544-4759

DOI: 10.1002/jip.1369


This study aimed to investigate the case linkage principles, behavioural consistency and distinctiveness, with a sample of serial car thieves. Target selection, acquisition, and disposal behaviours, as well as geographical and temporal behaviours, were examined. The effects of temporal proximity and offender expertise were also investigated as moderating factors of behavioural consistency. As in previous case linkage research, geographical and some target selection behaviours were able to predict whether crime pairs are linked or unlinked at a statistically significant level. Crucially, it was also found that temporal behaviours demonstrate a significant capability to predict linkage status, a variable which has never before been applied to the prediction of linkage in serial car theft. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that changing the operationalisation of the behavioural domains can affect the results obtained. No support was found for the moderation of behavioural consistency on the basis of temporal proximity or expertise. Overall, the results support previous case linkage studies, furthering their practical applicability within the criminal justice system. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Source: Scopus