The concept that weapon choice and use may play a valuable role in differentiating between offenders is one that has not been well explored in current criminological or psychological thinking. The key aim of the current paper is to discuss the role of weapon choice and use in the application of offender profiling. Relevant research is identified though a literature review: initially considering a broad range of offences and then narrowing the focus on the specific case of violent and sexual offences. The review highlights several key findings which are then conceptualised through the offender profiling literature. In the discussion, the paper argues that there is considerable merit in the consideration of weapons within profiling violent and sexual offenders and concludes with proposed dimensions (planning and emotional use of the weapon) that illustrate the range of motivations that may aid in discriminating offenders.
- sexual offences
- offender profiling