Geographic Profiling: The Maths of Murder from Malaria to Jack the Ripper with Steve Le Comber

Monday 21st July 2014

“The first body was found in Rosso Road, the second in Stevenson Street and the third in Snow Avenue so we believe the killer lives in the Comeaux park area”

You have probably seen it on a crime drama and now you can see it live at Café Sci Guildford.

Geographic profiling is used to prioritise huge lists of suspects in criminal investigations by calculating statistical relationships between different locations. Originally developed to find a criminal’s “anchor point” – a location connected to them like their home or workplace – from the original crime locations, geographical profiling has become a powerful and routine tool used by law enforcement. Steve and his punk can-do attitude suspected it could be used in other biological situations and has successfully applied it to finding nesting sites, infected individuals and invasive species.

Steve will talk us through some examples ranging anywhere from sharks to the gestapo and then attempt a live demonstration. In the preceding weeks one Café Sci audience member will be committing (theoretical) crimes and recording the locations. Café Sci will also be collecting the postcodes of the non-criminal patrons. On the night Steve will run the calculation live and we will see if we have caught our criminal!

To be involved simply email ( or direct message me on twitter or facebook with your postcode or drop it in the “science crime” jar in The Keystone. We need to collect the data before the night to convert them into coordinates. Postcodes will not be kept or linked to individuals and will not be used for any other purpose.


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