Behind the Criminal Mind

Topics: Crime, Police, Criminology Pages: 13 (5130 words) Published: April 23, 2008
Chapter I. Criminal profiling
Due to the abnormal increase in the percentage of violent crimes from the past two decades, the investigative technique, most commonly referred to as criminal profiling, has rose in popularity both in practical use and media portrayals. Criminal profiling as a law enforcement tool emerged in the late 1960s from the work of FBI special agents Howard Teten and Pat Mullany. Nowadays the leading entity engaged in profiling is the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). But what does criminal profiling actually mean?

Developing descriptions of the traits and characteristics of unknown offenders in specific criminal cases, especially in cases involving serial killers, that is the famous technique called “profiling”. It is often used in situations for which authorities have no likely suspect. There are two basic varieties of profiling: inductive profiling, which involves the development of a profile based on known psychological typology, and deductive profiling, which reasons exclusively from the details of the victim (a practice called victimology) and crime scene to develop an unique profile of the unknown offender. Deductive profiling involves a process that avoids generalizations and averages. Not only is it based on pieces of evidence discovered at the crime scene, but it also takes into consideration the victim’s background. A deductive profile is set up based on the offender's actions before, during and after committing the crime. For example, if the murderer used a makeshift weapon, investigators are then able to deduce that the crime was probably spontaneous. Another example involves serial murderers. Investigators are able to find out whether the murder was organized, which means that the killer carried out a planned, premeditated attack on a victim, or if the attack was disorganized, meaning that the murder was unplanned and the killer behaved in an uncertain way. Organized and planned killers often carry a tool kit containing duct tape and rope to bind their victims and gloves and a mask to hide their identity. The study of victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system (the police and courts, and corrections officials) and the connections between victims and other public groups and institutions, such as the media, businesses, and social movements, is very useful in the development of the psychological profile of the offender and is commonly known among profilers as victimology. Deductive profiling requires specialized education and training in forensic science, crime scene reconstruction, and wound pattern analysis. That is why only very experienced federal agents become profilers. The deductive model’s greatest advantage is accuracy.

Deductive Criminal Profiling is also useful for thoroughly establishing Modus Operandi behavior, as well as offender signature behavior, which assists in the linkage of seemingly unrelated crimes. According to Vernon J. Geberth, a retired Lieutenant-Commander of the New York City Police Department with over 40 years of law enforcement experience, the Modus Operandi, or MO behavior, or method of operation, is a dynamic, learned behavior, changing over time, as the offender becomes more experienced. In other words, if the offender evolves, so should profilers. One of the disadvantages of the deductive method is undoubtedly the fact that not only is it time consuming, but it also requires a great deal of effort and skill from all the investigators working on the case. An exact opposite of deductive profiling is inductive profiling. Inductive profiling is the process of profiling criminal behavior, crime scenes, and victims from the known behaviors and emotions suggested by other criminals, crime scenes, and/or victims. In essence, as the term suggests, this is reasoning from initial statistical...
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