Skip to comments.Math Used in Hunt for Md. Sniper
Posted on 10/07/2002 10:29:03 PM PDT by 11th_VA
Investigators are trying to zero in on the Washington-area sniper with a computerized technique known as geographic profiling.
Geographic profiling, pioneered more than a decade ago by former Vancouver Police detective Kim Rossmo, works on the theory that except for a small buffer zone around their homes, criminals tend to hunt victims in areas they are familiar with.
Investigators in the Maryland case have asked Rossmo to help out.
Geo-profilers triangulate the likely home of the killer by analyzing such locations as the sites of the attacks and places where bodies were dumped. With each killing, more clues are entered into the computer.
"The more killings you have, the better it works," said Andreas Olligschlaeger, president of TruNorth Data Systems, which makes crime analysis software. "It's an unfortunate fact. More people have to die to get a better chance of capturing the killer."
While doing doctoral research, Rossmo developed a mathematical algorithm that was used as the basis for geo-profiling software now sold by the Vancouver company Environmental Criminology Research Inc. Only a few police investigators around the world have been trained on the software, which relies heavily on a detective's intuition.
The software crunches location data and other clues to create a "jeopardy surface" what looks like a color-coded topographical map that highlights the suspect's likeliest location.
Typically, if police believe a killer lives in a 10-square-mile area, Rossmo's tool can narrow that down to a few blocks.
Rossmo and the few geo-profilers now using his methods claim to have helped solve about half of the 450 cases they have studied.
Among those he has helped on were serial rape cases in Lafayette, La., and Mississuaga, Ontario, that were solved. Rossmo now heads research at the Police Foundation in Washington, D.C.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario police and federal law agencies in Germany, Britain, Australia use the Vancouver company's geo-profiling software, according to ECRI.
Hey! You read my mind! I was thinking financed by unknown sources.
In a nutshell that is the problem of today's journalists. In their quest for viewers they press for more and more information. Sec. Rumsfield said the same thing in his briefing today. The media is irresponsible with information.
What could the gimmick be? You figure that out and you'll know what to look for. The original description was for a white panel truck and if that was so, it seems likely that he(they) could've devised some hidden shooting stand within the truck, but would he continue to use this MO? It seems unlikely, it would be too easy to spot such a truck once the public was on the lookout and getaway would be much more difficult with its lumbering size.
This leads me to believe that he(they) has developed several different methods or variations on the theme of his gimmick or hidden shooting blind- like the ingenious Unabomber. Another idea I had was perhaps a remote controlled camera mounted somehow on a tripod mounted 5.56 mm weapon- hooked up somehow so the shooter could control the weapon by remote control and sight using the video camera via a remote monitor. If such a device were hidden within an ordinary car it might be fairly easy for someone to appear to be innocuosly "sitting behind the wheel" while he was actually lining someone up in his sights.
That's kind of out there- but he's obviously figured out some tricky method to carry this out that gives him a great degree of confidence in not being caught. Ideas anyone?
I don't think that is the case at all. This pair (if it is a pair) needs mobility, and concealment.
It is too early in the cold season for a person to be moving around with an overcoat to conceal a long gun.
Then again are we even looking for a long gun? It could be a single shot bolt action handgun, in the Thompson Center Contender class.
Consider, rifle cartridge, long range capability, concealable, single shot.
This shooter, is not disciplined, or if a team, the shooter of the last two victims is not that good, or is not comitted.
Next shooting is a kill, they won't wait to get it done, news hour (4:30) ET Tuesday, possibly earlier, probably in a semi-suburban area, High-way close with multiple inter changes near by. Not in Maryland, possibly Penn. or W Virginia. my bet would be Penn.
Just a thought.
Speaking of irregular schedules, my first thought after the Thursday morning shootings was that the guy worked the night shift somewhere. The first man was shot Wednesday evening at 6, then nothing all night long until early Thursday morning when the others were shot. And I do think he works in Montgomery County since that's where all of the killings initially took place. Just my 2 cents.
I like it. Then bring in the National Guard, seal off the area and go house-to-house.
You can become familiar with a large neighborhood by #1. living there for a few years, #2. working there for a few years, or #3. traveling through the area frequently.
If Sacajaweau qualifies under #1, motexva qualifies under (and is on vacation) #2 and HiTech RedNeck qualifies under (works nights one month, days the next)#3 then consider this.
Sacajaweau retired and moves 20 miles away, meets motexva his new next door neighbor who is friends with HiTech RedNeck. motexva and HiTech RedNeck have been discussing something like this killing plan for a few months when they meet Sacajaweau who owns a .223 and an illegal silencer. He was fed up with his old neighborhood because of _ _ _ _ _ and is wanting revenge. Sacajaweau is the shooter, motexva and HiTech RedNeck are his intelligence agents and target area selectors. Each one of them feels very comfortable with their knowledge of a particular area.
So now we have three different adjoining areas that they feel quite comfortable about and select these areas to do the killings in. As a team they go and perform murderous attacks but none of them live anywhere close to the area, 20 miles not being close.
I don't see how this geographic profiling plan will do a bit of good, but the fact that the police now have a plan should keep the locals from carrying guns and disobeying the laws. I think this is the kind of situation that will be solved when the locals sit down and think, "yes, I should have told the police what I saw even though I don't want to become involved with them."
However, our society has become one where we can have a neighbor live next door for a decade and we are never invited into their home or we never invite them over for a barbecue during the summer. Basically the family or individual next door are strangers to us. We don't know where they work, what religion they are, even what political party they belong to. By all appearances they are good people, we just don't know a darn thing about them, whether they are good, bad, sick minded or terrorists. All we know is what they show us and we don't have reason to investigate any further, do we? It's not like the old days anymore, that's for sure.
These shootings are crimes against unknown individuals. I haven't seen much of anything in common between the victims. This is the method of the left (communists, Isalms, environmentalists, government agents).
They are targeting the general population to generate maximum fear. This is how they operate in Africa today.
The shootings do not fit the Christian Identity, Aryan Nation types, who direct their wrath towards government buildings, banks and LEO's.
(BTW, I do not consider any of these groups to be 'right-wing extremists'. Their solutions to government are all socialistic and involve government control over the people.)
So it appears that the perp(s) have a reasonably good knowledge of local geography, including vehicle routes ... suggesting, among other things, that even if the white truck was stolen, the perp has his own vehicle and lots of experience driving it around the DC area, rather than mostly relying on public transit or an unchanging daily commute.