The fallacy of accuracy

Wayne Petherick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contributionResearchpeer-review


This chapter covers The Fallacy of Accuracy in Criminal Profiling; that is, while accuracy is cited as one yardstick of whether a profile is useful, it may in fact be the worst predictor of the utility of a profile. For example, what happens if a profile is accurate on 10 characteristics, but none of them actually helps police identify any suspect pools? What about in another instance where the profile gives 10 characteristics, is accurate on three of them, and one of those three helps identify a suspect who turns out to be the killer? Which has the right to claim accuracy? Which on utility? These issues are discussed in detail.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProfiling and Serial Crime: Theoretical and Practical Issues
EditorsW Petherick
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781455731749
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

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  • Related Research Outputs

    • 1 Scholarly edition

    Profiling and serial crime: Theoretical and practical Issues

    Petherick, W. (ed.), 2014, 3rd ed. Waltham, MA: Elsevier. 449 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportScholarly editionResearchpeer-review

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Cite this

    Petherick, W. (2013). The fallacy of accuracy. In W. Petherick (Ed.), Profiling and Serial Crime: Theoretical and Practical Issues (pp. 113-124). Elsevier.