VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Former VPD officer is star of new film
TV movie to track investigations of Canadian criminal profiler Kim Rossmo
Wednesday, October 23, 2002
VANCOUVER - The life of a former Vancouver police officer now working on the Washington sniper case will be the focus of a TV movie to air on CTV.
Dr. Kim Rossmo, PhD, Director of Research of the Police Foundation in Washington, D.C. (Michael Temchine, Vancouver Sun)
Toronto-based Portfolio Entertainment says it would like to make a series of movies based on investigations by Kim Rossmo, a former Vancouver City Police officer who earned his doctoral degree by inventing a new crime-fighting tool called geographic profiling.
"Not only did Rossmo invent this new system to track serial criminals, he was also in demand all over the world to solve previously impossible cases," said Lisa Olfman, one of the presidents of Portfolio, which has secured the rights to Rossmo's story.
The movie, Tracking the Hunters, will focus on the investigation of a serial rapist in Lafayette, La. It was among the first cases to utilize Rossmo's technique, which uses computer technology to analyse serial offences to help police narrow their search for the suspect to a certain area.
"There are so many twists and turns to this case," Olfman said. "It wasn't just that it was a rape case that went unsolved, where a rapist had been terrorizing women at gunpoint for ten years.
"It wasn't just that, it was what was revealed when he solved it."
As many as 15 women were attacked from 1984 to 1995. There was still no arrest by 1998, when the head of the task force read an article on Rossmo and appealed for help.
Although the program accurately predicted the rapist's home area, the information did not lead to his capture.
The case was solved when the police received an anonymous tip with the rapist's name. At the time of his arrest in 1999, the rapist had moved outside the area predicted.
"He lived in the top two per cent of the crime area," Rossmo said Wednesday. "It was a really good fit."
Rossmo describes geographic profiling as a case management tool. It won't solve a crime on its own but can help authorities focus their investigation and prioritize leads.
Now, authorities in Washington D.C. have turned to Rossmo for help as they search for a sniper who has killed 10 and wounded three in and around the U.S. capital.
"Crimes occur close to an offender's home, but not too close," Rossmo told reporters a couple weeks ago in Rockville, Md., a comfortable suburb adjacent to Washington's northwest border.
Most criminals crave anonymity but need familiarity with roads in order to plan their escapes, he said.
Geographic profiling is a fairly new investigative tool, used first in 1990 in Canada.
Rossmo tracked disappearances of drug-addicted prostitutes in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and suggested in 1998 that a serial killer could be at work.
Earlier this year police arrested Robert William Pickton and have charged him with the murders of 15 of 63 women missing from the area.
Rossmo will be a consultant for the movie.
"He presents things in a very matter-of-fact way," Olfman said of the former cop.
"He is enormously committed to making the community a safer place. Underlying everything else is that."
Rossmo said he's concerned that the investigation be portrayed accurately.
He hopes the film can do for geographic profiling what the movie Silence of the Lambs did for psychological profiling.
Tracking the Hunters should be in production early next year and is expected to air late next year or in 2004.
© Copyright 2002 Canadian Press
Updated: August 21, 2016