DEFINITIONS

Accusatorial Method (of Suspect Interviewing): A style of interviewing suspects that is used primarily in the U.S. It is confrontational and assumes guilt. This method typically establishes control, uses psychological manipulation (e.g., custody and isolation, confrontation, followed by offering sympathy and face-saving excuses), uses closed-ended, confirmatory questions, and focuses on anxiety cues to determine deception (based on the suspect's verbal and non-verbal cues). The primary goal is confession.

Alcohol- and Drug-Facilitated Rape: A rape that occurs when a victim has either voluntarily or involuntarily consumed a legal or illegal substance, rendering them unable to give consent to have sexual intercourse.

Appropriate (or Productive Interview) Questions: A type of question that is asked during a criminal investigation. It includes open questions (e.g., "Can you describe the room to me?"), probing questions (e.g., "What happened next?"), encouragements/ acknowledgements (e.g., "Ok, I see."). (See inappropriate questions.)

Autoerotic Asphyxiation: Restricting oxygen while sexually aroused for the purpose of enhancing orgasm intensity.

Catathymic Sexual Murderer: One of two types of sexual murderers. This person typically has a mood disorder, such as a personality disorder. They usually leave a disorganized crime scene behind and are the most common type of sexual murderer. (See Compulsive Sexual Murderer.)

Cognitive Distortions: Minimize or deny the dangerousness of the behavior, justify it, and relieve the offender of responsibility. (Examples: children need to be taught about sex; children are very seductive; the child is too young to know what is happening.)

Compulsive Sexual Murderer: One of two types of sexual murderers. This person is typically sadistic, has psychopathy, and meets the criteria for antisocial personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder. This person usually leaves an organized crime scene behind and is the least common type of sexual murderer. (See Catathymic Sexual Murderer.)

Confirmation Bias: Paying attention only to information that corroborates one's theory and ignoring any information that discredits the theory.

Criminal Geographic Targeting (CGT): Developed by criminologist, Kim Rossmo, and used in conjunction with criminal profiling. It analyzes spatial characteristics of a specified offender's crime patterns. The program creates a topographical map that identifies probabilities that a specific area falls within the offender's territory. Geographical profiling is simply an investigative tool that assists to solve crimes, but does not solve crimes. Rather, it assists to identify locations that can be closely monitored.

Disorganized Crime Scene: A chaotic and messy crime scene, indicative of a lack of planning and/or rage associated with the offender. (See Organized Crime Scene and Mixed Crime Scene.)

Dominant (Suspect) Interview: A type of suspect interview that is associated with impatience, hostility, aggressiveness, and condemnation. Police officers are less likely to obtain an admission of guilt if they use a humane approach. (See Humane (Suspect) Interview.)

False Rape Account: A rape allegation where a rape has actually occurred, yet the victim provides inaccurate statements about the rape.

False Rape Complaint: A rape allegation that is fabricated in its entirety. Thus, nothing about the rape allegation is true.

Forced-Choice Questions: A type of interview question in which the answer has only limited options. These include such questions as: Did the offender cut your necklace off before or after the assault?

Geographical Mapping: Analysis of the spatial patterns of a series of crimes committed over a period of time by all offenders of known offenses. The focus is on a specific geographical area.

Geographical Profiling: Analysis of the spatial distribution of a set of offenses committed by a single offender. The focus is on the individual offender.

Groupthink: The unwillingness of a person to question a "dominant" theory or idea among a cohesive group of individuals, such as police officers.

Humane (Suspect) Interview: A type of suspect interview that is associated with friendliness and empathy and is cooperative and personal. Police officers are more likely to obtain an admission of guilt if they use a humane approach. (See Dominant (Suspect) Interview.)

Hunters: A type of criminal who seeks victims as they set out from their home base, in places they are familiar with and believe suitable targets can be found. Hunters tend to stay within a relatively stable geographical area that is near their own home. (See Trollers, Trappers, and Poachers.)

Inappropriate (Interview) Questions: Types of questions that are used during an investigation. They include echo questions (e.g., Suspect says, "I may have ... "; Interviewer says, "You may have ..."), closed-questions (e.g., "Did you leave your house last night?"), leading questions (e.g., "Then you went to the living room, right?"), forced-choice questions (e.g., "The phone is in your name or your wife's?"), multiple questions (e.g., "Did you leave before nine o'clock? Where did you go?"), and making opinion-based statements (e.g., "You are just trying to protect yourself"). (See Appropriate Questions.)

Information-Gathering: Relies on establishing rapport, using open-ended, exploratory questions, and focusing on cognitive clues to deception. The use of cognitive clues is deeply embedded in empirical research that shows individuals will remember an event more accurately after they have been asked to remember the emotions, perceptions and sequence of events in the situation of interest. The primary goal of the information-gathering method is to elicit information. This method is associated with Great Britain. The suspects are given the opportunity to provide explanations and explain the circumstances. Only then are they questioned and asked about any inconsistent or contradictory information. The goal is to establish facts as opposed to obtaining a confession (as in the accusatorial method).

Investigation Relevant Information (IRI): Information that is helpful in determining information about the crime. Quality interviews, in general, will yield IRI, which includes the following key pieces of information: (1) what happened, (2) how the crime was committed, (3) who was involved, (4) when and where the offense occurred, and (5) any objects used to assist in committing the offense.

Mixed Crime Scene: A crime scene that includes elements of both the organized and disorganized crime scene. (See Organized Crime Scene and Disorganized Crime Scene.)

Modus Operandi (MO): An offender's unique behavioral pattern during the commission of the offense.

Open Questions: Questions that are based on information that the witness provided in the narrative and are open-ended (e.g.,What did the offender look like?).

Opportunistic Approach: A type of approach that occurs during an alcohol- and drug-facilitated rape. It involves taking advantage of someone who already has been exposed to alcohol or drugs.

Organized Crime Scene: A crime scene that reveals planning on the part of the offender; the crime scene appears in order. (See Dis organized Crime Scene and Mixed Crime Scene.)

Phased Approach: An approach that is suggested to be used when working with vulnerable victims. The phased approach includes four phases: (1) establish good rapport, (2) then obtain as much free narrative as possible, (3) then ask questions of the right type and in the right order, and (4) then have meaningful closure.

Poachers: A type of offender who is usually more transient—as they will travel some distance from their residence to search for victims. (See Hunters, Trollers, and Trappers.)

Proactive Approach: Involves intentionally getting a victim drunk or to give her a drug without her knowledge. The victim is usually, then, taken to another location for sexual intercourse.

Red Herrings: Tips received in a crime investigation, usually a high-profile case, that misdirect a case.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE): Nurses who have specialized knowledge and training to conduct forensic examinations of sexual assault victims.

Sexual Homicide: Involves killing someone who is also sexually assaulted at some point before, during, or after killing him or her.

Signature: Anything that the offender does that goes beyond what is necessary to carry out the crime. It reveals the offender's unique cognitive processes associated with the sex crime. The signature is relatively consistent when the offender carries out the crime repeatedly.

Specific Questions: Questions that typically seek additional information or clarify information already provided and assist the witness to understand what is relevant. This usually involves asking what, who, where, and when-type questions.

Staging: Altering the crime scene after the crime has occurred but before law enforcement arrives. It is usually done to make the crime look like someone else did it, moving the investigation away from the most obvious person.

Trappers: A type of offender who places his/her victims in a position of opportunity by taking on boarders, entertaining victims, placing ads, or assuming an employment position that brings victims to them. (See Hunters, Poachers, and Trollers.)

Trollers: Often encounter their victim randomly and do not specifically search out victims. They locate their victims while engaging in some other activity. (See Hunters, Poachers, and Trappers.)

Trophy: An item that is taken by the offender from the crime scene, such as jewelry, a driver's license, or underwear. It is usually a meaningful item that the offender uses to remember the incident.

Tunnel Vision: When one has a narrow focus on a limited range of alternatives.

Undoing: The offender psychologically trying to "undo" the murder. The offender may try to clean up the body and place it in a natural position, such as sleeping in the bed.

Vulnerable Victims: A type of victim who may have difficulty communicating events, such as children, elderly adults, and those with special needs.

 
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