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HeuristicsThe Foundations of Adaptive Behavior$
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Gerd Gigerenzer, Ralph Hertwig, and Thorsten Pachur

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744282

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744282.001.0001

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Geographic Profiling: The Fast, Frugal, and Accurate Way

Geographic Profiling: The Fast, Frugal, and Accurate Way

Chapter:
(p.591) Chapter 29 Geographic Profiling: The Fast, Frugal, and Accurate Way
Source:
Heuristics
Author(s):

Brent Snook

Paul J. Taylor

Craig Bennell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744282.003.0029

The current chapter addresses the ongoing debate about whether individuals can perform as well as actuarial techniques when confronted with real world, consequential decisions. A single experiment tested the ability of participants (N = 215) and an actuarial technique to accurately predict the residential locations of serial offenders based on information about where their crimes were committed. Results indicated that participants introduced to a “circle” or “decay” heuristic showed a significant improvement in the accuracy of predictions, and that their post-training performance did not differ significantly from the predictions of one leading actuarial technique. Further analysis of individual performances indicated that approximately 50% of participants used appropriate heuristics that typically led to accurate predictions even before they received training, while nearly 75% improved their predictive accuracy once introduced to either of the two heuristics. Several possible explanations for participants' accurate performances are discussed and the practical implications for police investigations are highlighted.

Keywords:   heuristics, crime, prediction, actuarial

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