A Texas State Professor May Have Identified The English Artist Banksy

By Katherine Huerta-­Ortega
News Reporter

Banksy street art. Photo by Francisco Huguenin Uhlfelder via Flickr.
Banksy street art. Photo by Francisco Huguenin Uhlfelder via Flickr.

A Texas State professor has helped reveal a possible suspect regarding the anonymous famous artist Banksy.

Following the terror attacks that took place in Paris last year, Texas State University’s Chair in Criminology, Kim Rossmo, along with other researchers decided to try creating new ways to center point terrorism.

Rossmo believes their investigation has helped researchers possibly discover the identity of the anonymous English graffiti artist Banksy.

“We wanted to see what can we tail from the graffiti of Banksy, we don’t know who Banksy is for sure, but there is a prime suspect that was identified,” said Rossmo. “With terrorism, what we wanted to do was to see if we could identify the locations of terrorist cells based on this minor activity.”

To Rossmo’s surprise, the simple practice of this theory gave him and other professionals a lot of publicity. However their main concern was not the fame, but rather the results of the theory.

“We collected 140 locations in England,’ Rossmo said. “We analyzed them through the model and then we saw how that compared to Robert Gunningham, who is the prime suspect that was identified. We know locations, like where he played soccer, where he lived, where he went to school and we could assess the two, and it was a very close match.”

“Now does it prove that Gunningham is Banksy? No, but it is more evidence for that theory we focused on. So the idea is to help prioritize investigative and intelligence efforts, but we also need the research to show that these locations could be connected back to the base of the terrorists themselves.”

Although the suspect has not confirmed that he is the anonymous artist, a publication in London and the researchers have released a name. As a result, the resounding question lies: What will be the aftermath?

“Apparently all this attention is helping increase the cost of Banksy’s artworks, some of which will go for hundreds of thousands of dollars. So he might get some attended benefit, but you know we’ve added evidence to that theory, but it’s not proof. And until Banksy comes forward, you know we are not going to know for sure who he is,” Rossmo said. “However, from our scholarly perspective, we now have additional research in evidence to supporting the utility of analyzing graffiti in low level activities that help intelligence agencies focus in on terrorist cells.”

Rossmo remains surprised by the amount of publicity he and the other investigators gained by the occurrence. He has now been interviewed by New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and several other publications across the world. However, his major concern is the positive results the theory provided and the potential usage of it profiling bigger suspects.

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