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Understanding the Geography of Rape through the Integration of Data: Case Study of a Prolific, Mobile Serial Stranger Rapist Identified through Rape Kits

NCJ Number
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Volume: 19 Issue: 11 Dated: June 2022
Date Published
June 2022

Since environmental criminological research on rape series is an understudied field due largely to deficiencies in official and publicly available data and little is known about the spatial patterns of rapists with a large number of stranger rapes,. a unique integration and application of spatial, temporal, behavioral, forensic, investigative, and personal history data were used, to explore the geography of rape of a prolific, mobile serial stranger rapist identified through initiatives to address thousands of previously untested rape kits in two U.S. urban, neighboring jurisdictions.


Rape kit data provide the opportunity for a more complete and comprehensive understanding of stranger rape series by linking crimes that likely never would have been linked if not for the DNA evidence. This study fills a knowledge gap by exploring the spatial offending patterns of extremely prolific serial stranger rapists. Through the lens of routine activities theory, we explore the motivated offender, the lack of capable guardianship (e.g., built environment), and the targeted victims. The findings have important implications for gaining practical and useful insight into rapists' use of space and behavioral decision-making processes, effective public health interventions and prevention approaches, and urban planning strategies in communities subjected to repeat targeting by violent offenders.

Date Published: June 1, 2022