Spatial cognition and crime: The study of mental models of spatial relations in crime analysis

Lorenzo P. Luini, Marco Scorzelli, Serena Mastroberardino, Francesco S. Marucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several studies employed different algorithms in order to investigate criminal's spatial behaviour and to identify mental models and cognitive strategies related to it. So far, a number of geographic profiling (GP) software have been implemented to analyse mobility and its relation to the way criminals are using spatial environment when committing a crime. Since crimes are usually perpetrated in the offender's high-awareness areas, those cognitive maps can be employed to create a map of the criminal's operating area to help investigators to circumscribe search areas. The aim of the present study was to verify accuracy of simple statistical analysis in predicting spatial mobility of a group of 30 non-criminal subjects. Results showed that statistics such as Mean Centre and Standard Distance were accurate in elaborating a GP for each subject according to the mobility area provided. Future analysis will be implemented using mobility information of criminal subjects and location-based software to verify whether there is a cognitive spatial strategy employed by them when planning and committing a crime.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCognitive Processing
Issue number1 SUPPL
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Cognitive maps
  • Geographic profiling
  • Space analysis
  • Spatial mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Artificial Intelligence


Dive into the research topics of 'Spatial cognition and crime: The study of mental models of spatial relations in crime analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this