Offender’s Signature vs. Modus Operandi

Excellent mini tutorial on the difference between signature and modus operandi.

Author Jennifer Chase

Sometimes it’s confusing for people to differentiate between a criminal’s signature versus the criminal’s modusoperandi when they commit a specific crime. 

Are they the same?

No, they are distinctly different because one feeds on emotional needs, while the other is a procedure. 

Modus operandi is the method that is used to commit the crime and signature behavior is what helps to serve the criminal’s emotional and psychological needs.

A modus operandi or MO refers to the method or procedure that a criminal uses when committing a crime.  It comes from the Latin phrase meaning “mode of operation”.  Basically, all criminals have a method of operation that encompasses the habits, techniques, and any peculiarities of behavior.  The method can stay the same, but it will often grow and change over time as the criminal becomes more skillful at committing a specific crime. 

If an investigator or detective establishes the MO…

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About VeronicaThePajamaThief

Bio: Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw Born in Lisboa, Portugal to parents of Portuguese/Russian descent, Veronica Marie and her wife, Christina Anne, call the Pacific Northwest home, where the couple are “still very much on honeymoon!” When not teaching and finishing her own studies for a Masters in Sociology, Veronica writes fiction, primarily noir - "I love dark!". Her long fascination with noir fiction prompted Veronica to try her own hand at writing fiction several years ago. She has been published in Pulp Metal Magazine, The Lost Children: A Charity Anthology, the horror anthology 100 Horrors, from Cruentus Libri Press, Nightfalls: an End of the World anthology, Drunk On The Moon 2: A Roman Dalton anthology and Gloves Off: Near To the Knuckle's debut anthology. Veronica has also appeared in the inaugural issue of Literary Orphans magazine and her horror/urban fantasy short story SOUL TAKER was recently chosen for inclusion in Lily Childs' february femmes fatales, an urban fantasy/horror anthology. Veronica counts among her mentors - Carole A Parker, Lily Childs, Paul D Brazill, Richard Godwin, Joyce Juzwik and Vicki Abelson. She is currently working on the third draft of her first novel – a memoir – as well the second draft of her first fiction novel, a fantasy novel and the publication of a collection of her flash fiction and short stories. Lily's The Feardom and Vicki Abelson's Women Who Write Facebook writing group have both been a tremendous source of support and inspiration for Veronica. Veronica’s writings can be found at and, and
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1 Response to Offender’s Signature vs. Modus Operandi

  1. Cayman Thorn says:

    Interesting read, thanks for sharing it!

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