Richard N. Kocsis and George B. Palermo Comment on the Parallels Between the Obstacles to Space Exploration and Criminal Profiling.

Academics Richard N. Kocsis and George B. Palermo have written a new article that compares the obstacles to space exploration with those facing criminal profiling. Entitled New Horizons, the piece is, from this month, available via the OnlineFirst facility of the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology (Sage Publications).

Referencing the NASA space probe called New Horizons, the article considers the challenges faced by the ever increasing extremes of space exploration and the role of technology in continually adapting to the research needs of astronomers to gain new insights about Pluto. It then compares these advances to the advances in contemporary research into "criminal profiling", which for many years have included the use of different methodologies and the development of typologies and taxonomies of various crimes and offender characteristics.

The authors consider how these typologies and taxonomies have helped to interpret crime scene patterns of unsolved crimes and consider the possible characteristics of the unknown perpetrator(s) and observe that in recent years new research has used the concept of offender homology. However, these studies have not shown evidence supporting this assumed homology among offenders consequently, Kocsis and Palermo argue that the relationship between offender homology and criminal profiling is a far more complex, and considerably more difficult task, than examining what has been undertaken to date.

The authors reference their recent work (Kocsis and Palermo, 2015) about the use of criminal justice data for research into the topic of criminal profiling and discuss the strengths and weaknesses related to this information in what they argue is a complex issue. In many ways, this is why the issue of offender homology and its relevance to criminal profiling is seen to be remarkably similar to the 
research endeavours of astronomers and the challenges facing space exploration.

The full article with notes and references can be read in the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology (Sage Publications) published via the OnlineFirst facility for November 27, 2015.

Richard N. Kocsis, PhD is a Psychologist in Private Practice, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and George B. Palermo, MD, MSc Crim., PhD, the University of Nevada, Henderson, USA


Kocsis, R.N. & Palermo, G.B. (2015). Disentangling criminal profiling: Accuracy, homology and the myth of trait based profiling. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. 59(3), 313-33