Modus operandi

Modus operandi

Modus operandi (plural modi operandi) is a Latin phrase, approximately translated as "mode of operation".[1] The term is used to describe someone's habits or manner of working, their method of operating or functioning. In English, it is frequently shortened to M.O.

The expression is often used in police work when discussing a crime and addressing the methods employed by the perpetrators. It is also used in criminal profiling,[2] where it can help in finding clues to the offender's psychology.[3] It largely consists of examining the actions used by the individual(s) to execute the crime, prevent its detection and/or facilitate escape.[1]

In the book Criminal Investigation,[4] B.L. Berg explains that a suspect's modus operandi can help in identification, apprehension and/or repression. An M.O. file is an orderly method of recording and coding information designed to reveal habits, traits or practices of criminal suspects. This can then be used to aid in the eventual apprehension of the suspect(s), and can also be used to determine links between crimes.

See also


  1. ^ a b Douglas, J. E. and A. W. Burgess, A. G. Burgess, R. K. Ressler. Crime classification manual (John Wiley & Sons, 2006) ISBN 0787985015, p. 19-21.
  2. ^ Vronsky, R. Serial Killers (Berkley Books, 2004) ISBN 0425196402, p. 412.
  3. ^ Hazelwood, R. R, A. W. Burgess, Practical Aspects of Rape Investigation, (CRC Press, 2001) ISBN 0849300762, p. 517.
  4. ^ Berg, B.L. Criminal Investigation (McGraw-Hill, 2008) ISBN 9780073401249
  • Levinson, D. Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment, (SAGE, 2002) ISBN 076192258X
  • Carlo, P. "The Night Stalker: The Life and Crimes of Richard Ramirez" (Pinnacle Books 1996) ISBN 0786013621

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • modus operandi — mo·dus ope·ran·di /ˌmō dəs ˌä pə ran dē, ˌdī/ n [New Latin, manner of operating]: a distinct pattern or method of operation esp. that indicates or suggests the work of a single criminal in more than one crime Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law.… …   Law dictionary

  • Modus Operandi — Pour les articles homonymes, voir MO. def : manière de procéder Modus operandi (MO) est une phrase latine, traduite approximativement par « mode d opération » ou mode opératoire . Le pluriel est modi operandi (« modes d… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • modus operandi — ⇒MODUS OPERANDI, subst. masc. DR. (criminologie). Manière caractéristique d un criminel, qui peut aider à l identifier. Transcrits sur fiches perforées, ces renseignements concernent (...) les mobiles apparents ou supposés, le signalement des… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • modus operandi — Loc. lat. que significa ‘modo de obrar’. Se emplea como locución nominal masculina: «Los individuos utilizaban en los distintos embarques el mismo modus operandi de ocultar la droga entre cargas de madera» (NProvincia [Arg.] 12.3.97). Es… …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • modus operandi — way of doing or accomplishing, 1650s, Latin, lit. “mode of operating” (see MODUS (Cf. modus)). Abbreviation m.o. is attested from 1955 …   Etymology dictionary

  • modus operandi — ► NOUN (pl. modi operandi) ▪ a way of operating or doing something. ORIGIN Latin …   English terms dictionary

  • Modus operandi — Mo dus op er*an di[L.], manner of operating. Often abbreviated to {MO} [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Modus operandi — (lat.: „Art des Handelns“ oder „Art der Durchführung“) wird in der Kriminalistik benutzt, um die Verhaltensweisen, einen speziellen Stil, Muster oder Charakteristika eines Kriminellen zu beschreiben (vgl. Tathergang). Der Terminus wird auch… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Modus operandi —         (лат.) способ действия. Философский энциклопедический словарь. М.: Советская энциклопедия. Гл. редакция: Л. Ф. Ильичёв, П. Н. Федосеев, С. М. Ковалёв, В. Г. Панов. 1983 …   Философская энциклопедия

  • Modus operandi — Modus operandi, que literalmente significa modo de operar , es una expresión latina de uso frecuente tanto en español como en otras lenguas occidentales. En el lenguaje común esta expresión se refiere a la manera habitual o característica de… …   Wikipedia Español

  • modus operandi — / mɔdus ope randi/ locuz. lat. (propr. modo di operare ), usata in ital. come s.m. [maniera di fare, di agire] ▶◀ comportamento, condotta, modo di fare …   Enciclopedia Italiana

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