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Identification of clandestine grave site by understanding location choices from an environmental and psychological perspective

Stevens, BradleeORCID: 0000-0002-7503-4067 (2021) Identification of clandestine grave site by understanding location choices from an environmental and psychological perspective. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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What factors influence an offender’s decision-making process in choosing a particular clandestine grave site? This study attempts to answer this question and in doing so proposes that it is best answered using a multifaceted approach. This approach is required to appreciate how Winthropping is a relevant method to employ to understand these decisionmaking factors. An offender’s decision-making process is affected by theoretical underpinnings in forensic psychology and environmental criminology. Forensic psychology informs us that the environment plays a significant role in influencing decisions made by an offender, who scours it consciously and subconsciously for relevant information about how best to commit their crime. Environmental criminology states that these decisions aggregate to form larger trends about how crime is committed across geographical areas and how best we can use these to apprehend offenders. Furthermore, knowledge gained by applying statistical methods such as Matrix Forecasting, and Behavioural Sequence Analysis can form the foundation of testing whether Winthropping can be used as a clandestine grave search tool. Finally, the forensic components and unique characteristics of clandestine graves will be discussed in relation to Winthropping. The potential impact of this research may reduce the reliance on offenders telling us where to find their victims as well as provide a new method for investigators to use in their current cases.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Supervisor(s): Chapman, Brendan and Keatley, David
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