MATCH: A New Approach for Differentiating & Linking Series of Sex Worker Homicides and Sexual Assaults

Sex workers as a group are one of the more common targets in serial homicide, yet the most likely to go unsolved. Part of the reason for this is the difficulty in linking individual crime scenes to a series, especially in those series where offenders not only target sex worker victims but also targe...

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Published in:International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology
Main Author: Salfati, C. Gabrielle (Author)
Contributors: Sorochinski, Marina (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2019
In:International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology
Year: 2019, Volume: 63, Issue: 9, Pages: 1794-1824
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:Sex workers as a group are one of the more common targets in serial homicide, yet the most likely to go unsolved. Part of the reason for this is the difficulty in linking individual crime scenes to a series, especially in those series where offenders not only target sex worker victims but also target non-sex worker victims. Inconsistencies in both victim targeting and behaviors engaged in across series add to the difficulties of linking and solvability in these types of crimes. The current study aimed to add to the current body of literature on serial crime linkage by examining not only the most salient behavioral indicators useful for crime scene classification of serial homicides that involve sex worker victims but also examine the trajectories of behavioral change that can help link apparently inconsistent crime scenes and proposes the new Model for the Analysis of Trajectories and Consistency in Homicide (MATCH). The study examines 83 homicide series, including 44 (53%) series where all victims were sex workers and 39 (47%) series that included a mix of sex workers and non-sex worker victims. Using the MATCH system allowed for the majority of series to be classified to a dominant trajectory pattern, over half as many as a traditional consistency analysis that focusses on behavioral similarity matching. Results further showed that Sex Worker Victim series were almost three times more consistent across their series than Mixed-Victim series, not only in victim selection but also in the overall behavioral patterns. Findings are discussed in line with theoretical and psychological issues relating to understanding the nature of behavioral consistency and the importance of going beyond simple matching toward a model that allows for the identification of consistency in seemingly inconsistent series, as well as investigative implications relating to linking serial crimes.
ISSN:1552-6933
DOI:10.1177/0306624X19839279