Psychopathy, offending style and crime scene behavior

  • Tkazky S
  • Youngs D
  • Rowlands D
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While the phenomenon has been researched for more than half a century, the vast majority of studies concentrate on manifestations of psychopathy in offenders already in the criminal justice system. However, both academics and practitioners in the field agree that psychopathic behaviors differ from those of the general population (Hare, 1996; O’Toole & Häkkänen‐Nyholm, 2012), ergo, crimes committed by psychopaths may reveal distinguishing features from those committed by nonpsychopaths. Despite the potentially rich source of data provided by crime scenes, the question of whether psychopathy can be deduced from offenders’ crime scene actions is underresearched, with most studies focusing on motive and victimology. Nonetheless, some recent studies have examined crime scene behaviors, suggesting certain indicators of psychopathy with implications for offense inquiry. The chapter reviews research efforts to establish offending patterns related to psychopathy, examining qualitative differences between psychopaths and nonpsychopaths in terms of violence, victim choice and other offense variables, arguing that since psychopathy is underpinned by a constellation of affective, interpersonal, and behavioral factors, key differences in crime scene actions should be discernible, serving value for police investigations and onward criminal justice protocols. Mindful of benefits crime scene insights bring to investigative procedures, the chapter presents an Investigative Psychology approach, with its focus on the relationship between specific offense actions and offender characteristics. Application of Investigative Psychology methodology and modeling are discussed with respect to advancing the literature on crime scene indicators of psychopathy, and associations between offenders’ interpersonal style and actions during offense commission are suggested with a view to more targeted future research.




Tkazky, S., Youngs, D., & Rowlands, D. (2022). Psychopathy, offending style and crime scene behavior. In Psychopathy and Criminal Behavior (pp. 273–294). Elsevier.

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