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Forensic Psychology – Offender Profiling

4. Geographic Profiling

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In this fourth and final module, we think about geographic profiling, focusing in particular on: (i) understanding geographic profiling as using crime scene locations to estimate offender residence location; (ii) the origin of geographic profiling with Dr John Snow and his study of the London cholera outbreak; (iii) circle theory as a feature of investigative psychology, formulated by Brantingham and Brantingham in 1981; (iv) the categories of serial criminals as either commuters or marauders, each with a ‘buffer zone’ around their home within which they do not commit crimes; (v) the usefulness of geographic profiling in locating serial criminals’ homes, workplaces, and recreational spaces.


This course, by Professor Ciarán O’Keeffe (Buckinghamshire New University), explores offender profiling. In the first module, we think about the top down and bottom up approaches to profiling, and review a range of definitions of offender profiling. In the second module, we think about the FBI’s organised and disorganised crime scene and criminal typologies. Next, we think about the investigative psychology approach as an alternative to the ‘FBI approach’. In the fourth and final module, we think about geographic profiling and its origins in John Snow’s ‘cholera map’ of London.


Ciarán O’Keeffe is associate professor at Buckinghamshire New University. He specialises in both forensic and criminal psychology, as well as parapsychology (the study of mental phenomena which are inexplicable by conventional psychology). Professor O’Keeffe’s background is in investigative psychology and now teaches across a range of forensic and criminal psychology courses. He has made numerous television and radio appearances alongside an array of celebrities.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

O'Keeffe, C. (2022, March 29). Forensic Psychology – Offender Profiling - Geographic Profiling [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

O'Keeffe, Ciarán. "Forensic Psychology – Offender Profiling – Geographic Profiling." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 29 Mar 2022,

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