The psycho-criminology of burial sites: developing the Winthropping Method for locating clandestine burial sites

David Keatley*, Chris O'Donnell, Brendan Chapman, David D. Clarke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The majority of geographical profiling research focuses on the relationship between offender and location, which works particularly well when a burial site is known. In real-world investigations, however, burial or dump sites are often not known. The aim of the current paper is to outline a relatively under-used method of geographic profiling: Winthropping. While the method has been around for several decades, few studies have provided any research findings using it. There are two likely reasons for Winthropping being under-used: first, it has not been clearly, theoretically explained; second, given its relative novelty, it may not be immediately clear how to use it in research and real-world scenarios. The current paper outlines several key psychological (e.g., satisficing and affordances) and criminological (e.g., rational choice theory and crime geometry) theories that may explain why Winthropping works. Case studies are provided, and a methodological approach (matrix forecasting) is then provided to show how it could work in research practice and real-world applications. Overall, Winthropping is deemed to be highly useful, and it is hoped that experts in the field will begin developing this tool for wider, applied use.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Early online date20 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 May 2021

Keywords

  • Winthropping
  • burial
  • affordance
  • homicide
  • scan pattern

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