Review of Mapping the Trail of a Crime – How Experts use Geographic Profiling to Solve the World’s Most Notorious Crimes – By Gordon Kerr


I picked this book up for research on a series of murders my daughter and I are writing a book about.  We were able to get a copy of a geographic profile of our cases and I wanted to learn more about the techniques used in geographic profiling.  As an entry level book on this subject, it hits the mark.

Geographic profiling looks at the patterns a crime creates and maps probable areas where the killers live, have familiarity, or work.  It is not an exact science (yet) and some killers’ patterns defy the technique, such as those killers that are highly mobile and cover a broad geography.

It is a highly intriguing science.  Many serial killers follow a pattern which can be conveyed on a map. Most do not strike right at their home or immediate neighborhood, there’s too much of a chance they would be seen and recognized.  The majority strike in a band further out from their neighborhoods, where they are familiar with the territory but there is less risk of them being recognized.

The book is a paperback format, heavy with maps (duh) and photographs.  A large number of serial killing cases are examined and, in most cases, it is explained where geographic profiling could have helped or did help on the case.  In a few of the instances, there’s not a lot that ties to the subject matter in a given chapter, because the cases don’t fit the model where geographic profiling can apply.

The book was pretty good, but really didn’t dive deep enough into the subject for me…but remember, I’m a true crime author and want more nuts and bolts.  There’s not a lot of books on this subject…not for under $100, so I do recommend this for the “casual” true crime reader who wants a great source of maps of murders and explains the basics of geographic profiling.  I find myself wanting to pick up some of the author’s other books, which says a great deal about his style.  I also loved the paperback format, with end flaps which mirror a hardcover book. It is a nice touch from the publisher.

One thought on “Review of Mapping the Trail of a Crime – How Experts use Geographic Profiling to Solve the World’s Most Notorious Crimes – By Gordon Kerr

  1. I’ve just ordered this book, I’m really looking forward to seeing some of the maps. I discovered Geographic Profiling (GP) 3 years ago, I read everything I could find online and ended up building a system to generate profiles myself. You’ve probably moved on to other things by now, but if you’re interested in learning more, I put together a site with some of the profiles I’ve done and also a page with links to the papers and articles I read that helped me develop the system. If you’re able to discuss the case your writing about, I’d be happy to run some profiles on the data and see how they compare to yours. Cheers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s