Behaviour tracking: using geospatial and behaviour sequence analysis to map crime

  • D. A. KeatleyEmail author
  • M. Arntfield
  • P. Gill
  • J. Clare
  • G. Oatley
  • N. Bouhana
  • D. D. Clarke
Original Article


Crime is a complex phenomenon. To understand the commission of crime, researchers must map both the temporal and the spatial processes involved. The current research combines a temporal method of analysis, Behaviour Sequence Analysis, with geospatial mapping, to outline a new method of integrating temporal and spatial movements of criminals. To show how the new method can be applied, a burglary scenario was used, and the movements and behaviours of a criminal tracked around the property. Results showed that combining temporal and spatial analyses allows for a clearer account of the process of a crime scene. The current method has application to a large range of other crimes and terrorist movements, for instance between cities and movements within each city. Therefore, the current research provides the foundation framework for a novel method of spatio-temporal analyses of crime.


Crime Burglary Sequence analysis Geospatial anlaysis Methods 



  1. Arntfield, M. 2016. ’Money. Armed. Quietly’: A sociolinguistic analysis of criminogenic prose in institutional holdup notes. Semiotica 208 (1): 237–258.Google Scholar
  2. Arntfield, M. 2017. Mad city: The true story of the campus murders that America forgot. New York: Little A Books.Google Scholar
  3. Bakeman, R., and J.M. Gottman. 1986. Observing behavior: An introduction to sequential analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University. Scholar
  4. Bakeman, R., and V. Quera. 2011. Sequential analysis and observational methods for the behavioral sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Scholar
  5. Beauregard, E., M. DeLisi, and A. Hewitt. 2017. Sexual Murderers: Sex offender, murderer, or both? Sexual Abuse 30: 932–950.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Caneppele, S., and F. Calderoni. 2013. Organized Crime, Corruption and Crime Prevention: Essays in Honor of Ernesto U. Savona. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  7. Carroll, J.S., and J.W. Payne. 2014. Cognition and social behavior. London: Psychology Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chainey, S., and J. Ratcliffe. 2013. GIS and crime mapping. GIS and Crime Mapping. Scholar
  9. Clare, J. 2011. Examination of systematic variations in burglars’ domain-specific perceptual and procedural skills. Psychology, Crime and Law. Scholar
  10. Clarke, D.D., and J. Crossland. 1985. Action systems: An introduction to the analysis of complex behaviour. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  11. Clarke, R.V.G., and M. Felson. 2004. Routine activity and rational choice, advances in criminological theory. Piscataway: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Cornish, D.B., and R.V. Clarke. 1987. Understanding crime displacement: An application of rational choice theory. Criminology 25 (4): 933–948. Scholar
  13. Cornish, D.B., and R.V. Clarke. 2016. The rational choice perspective. In Environmental criminology and crime analysis, ed. R. Wortley et al. London: Routledge. Scholar
  14. Ellis, H.E., D.D. Clarke, and D.A. Keatley. 2017. Perceptions of behaviours in stranger rape cases: A sequence analysis approach. Journal of Sexual Aggression. Scholar
  15. Fossi, J.J., D.D. Clarke, and C. Lawrence. 2005. Bedroom rape: sequences of sexual behavior in stranger assaults. Journal of interpersonal violence 20 (11): 1444–1466. Scholar
  16. Gilmour, N., T. Hicks, and S. Dilloway. 2017. Examining the practical viability of internationally recognised standards in preventing the movement of money for the purposes of terrorism: A crime script approach. Journal of Financial Crime 24 (2): 260–276. Scholar
  17. Haelterman, H. 2016. Crime script analysis: Preventing crimes against business. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Homel, R., S. Macintyre, and R. Wortley. 2014. How house burglars decide on targets. In Cognition and crime: Offender decision making and script analyses, ed. B. Leclerc and R. Wortley, 26–47. Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Ivanouw, J. 2007. ‘Sequence analysis as a method for psychological research. Nordic Psychology 59 (3): 251–267. Scholar
  20. Keatley, D.A. 2018. Pathways in crime: An introduction to Behaviour Sequence Analysis. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Keatley, D.A., and D.D. Clarke. 2019. Crime Linkage: Finding a Behavioral Fingerprint using the “Path Similarity Metric”. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology. Scholar
  22. Keatley, D.A., et al. 2018a. Using behavior sequence analysis to map serial killers ‘Life Histories’. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Scholar
  23. Keatley, D.A., A.D. Barsky, and D.D. Clarke. 2017. Driving under the influence of alcohol: A sequence analysis approach. Psychology, Crime and Law 23 (2): 135–146. Scholar
  24. Keatley, D.A., S. McGurk, and C.S. Allely. 2018b. Understanding school shootings with crime script analysis. Deviant Behavior. Scholar
  25. Kosir, T., and D. Drake. 2012. Tracking sex-related burglaries as a measure of identifying sexual homicide offenders. Technical Report for Center for Homicide Research.Google Scholar
  26. Lawrence, C., J. Fossi, and D. Clarke. 2010. A sequential examination of offenders’ verbal strategies during stranger rapes: The influence of location. Psychology, Crime & Law 16 (5): 381–400. Scholar
  27. Leclerc, B., and R. Wortley. 2013. Cognition and crime: Offender decision making and script analyses. Cognition and Crime: Offender Decision Making and Script Analyses. Scholar
  28. Leclerc, B., and R. Wortley. 2014. Cognition and Crime: Offender Decision Making and Script Analyses. Oxford: Routledge. Scholar
  29. Leclerc, B., R. Wortley, and C. Dowling. 2016. Situational precipitators and interactive forces in sexual crime events involving adult offenders. Criminal Justice and Behavior. Scholar
  30. Meyer, S. 2013. Impeding lone-wolf attacks: Lessons derived from the 2011 Norway attacks. Crime Science. Scholar
  31. Nee, C., and M. Taylor. 2000. Examining burglars’ target selection: Interview, experiment or ethnomethodology? Psychology, Crime and Law. Scholar
  32. Nee, C., and T. Ward. 2015. Review of expertise and its general implications for correctional psychology and criminology. Aggression and Violent Behavior. Scholar
  33. Oatley, G.C., and B.W. Ewart. 2003. Crimes analysis software: “Pins in maps”, clustering and Bayes net prediction. Expert Systems with Applications. Scholar
  34. Oatley, G., and B. Ewart. 2011. Data mining and crime analysis. In Wiley interdisciplinary reviews: Data mining and knowledge discovery, ed. S. Beikin. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  35. Osborne, J., and J.A. Capellan. 2017. Examining active shooter events through the rational choice perspective and crime script analysis. Security Journal 30 (3): 880–902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pastra, K., H. Saggion, and Y. Wilks. 2003. SOCIS: Scene of crime information system.Google Scholar
  37. R Team. 2013. R Development Core Team. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing 55: 275–286.Google Scholar
  38. Ratcliffe, J. 2010. Crime mapping: Spatial and temporal challenges. In Handbook of quantitative criminology, ed. A. Piquero. New York: Springer. Scholar
  39. Taylor, O., D.A. Keatley, and D.D. Clarke. 2017. A behavior sequence analysis of perceptions of alcohol-related violence surrounding drinking establishments. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Scholar
  40. Taylor, P.J., et al. 2008. Analysing forensic processes : Taking time into account. Issues in Forensic Psychology 8: 43–56.Google Scholar
  41. van Gelder, J.L., et al. 2017. Virtual burglary: Exploring the potential of virtual reality to study burglary in action. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. Scholar
  42. Wellsmith, M., and A. Burrell. 2005. The influence of purchase price and ownership levels on theft targets: The example of domestic burglary. British Journal of Criminology. Scholar
  43. Wortley, R. 2016. Situational precipitators of crime. In Environmental criminology and crime analysis, 2nd ed, ed. R. Wortley and L. Mazerolle. Boca Raton: CRC Press. Scholar
  44. Wortley, R., and M. Townsley. 2016. Environmental criminology and crime analysis, 2nd ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. A. Keatley
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Arntfield
    • 2
  • P. Gill
    • 3
  • J. Clare
    • 4
  • G. Oatley
    • 5
  • N. Bouhana
    • 3
  • D. D. Clarke
    • 6
  1. 1.School of LawMurdoch UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Arts & HumanitiesWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  3. 3.Jill Dando InstituteUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.School of LawUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  5. 5.School of Science, Engineering, and Information TechnologyFederation University AustraliaMelbourneAustralia
  6. 6.School of PsychologyUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

Personalised recommendations