Sex offenders’ forensic awareness strategies to avoid police detection

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In criminology, the rational choice perspective assumes that offenders decide whether or not to commit a crime by weighing the effort, rewards, and costs involved in alternative courses of action. One of the most important costs for offenders is to be identified and arrested by police. In order to avoid arrest, offenders have to rely on specific strategies. In sexual assaults, in addition to appropriate target selection, offenders must make sure to avoid police detection by protecting their identity and cleaning up or destroy forensic evidence that may be left at the crime scene and that can directly lead to their identification. This behavior is known as ‘forensic awareness’. Research on forensic awareness strategies during the crime-commission process is scant. A number of studies looking specifically at sexual crimes identified certain strategies related to forensic awareness. According to the rational choice perspective, the use of strategies to avoid police detection should have an impact on the crime solving by police. Few studies have investigated this issue and findings are quite unexpected. The aim of this chapter is to review some of the most important empirical knowledge on the use of forensic awareness strategies in sexual crimes.




Chopin, J., & Beauregard, E. (2020). Sex offenders’ forensic awareness strategies to avoid police detection. In Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications (pp. 39–55). Springer.

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