Modus Operandi

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Modus Operandi is a term used in a criminal investigation to describe a way in which a defender goes about committing a crime. Usually it defines a pattern of activities driven by the offenders, thought and behavior processes, before, during, and after the crime. It is also used in criminal profiling, where it can assist with obtaining clues regarding an offender’s psychology. It consists of examining the actions used by the offender to execute the crime, prevent its detection and/or facilitate escape. (Vronsky, 2004)A criminal's MO pertains to facts gathered from a crime scene, giving investigators insight into how, when and where the crime was committed. For example, a criminal may use a particular weapon or focus on certain type of people, time of day, or a particular neighborhood. All which support his modus operandi. The signature is the way in which a criminal leaves his mark on the crime scene. This can include, posing or branding his victim in a certain way or carrying out his crime in a manic obsession such as torture of disfigurement, using props and/or securing souvenirs such as clothing, to relive the crime. An offender’s signature alerts profilers to the emotional and psychological aspects of the offender that are the driving forces of an offender’s crime.(Keppel,1997) Signature behaviors suggest clues regarding a criminal’s past, personality, emotions, mental state and intelligence. Criminal psychological profiling is an investigative tool utilized by experts to examine details of a crime, in the attempt to categorize, understand and predict the behavior of certain type of offenders based on behavioral clues they provide. Criminal psychological profiling is also referred to as “criminal profiling”, “criminal profiling” and “behavioral profiling.”Criminal profiling is a behavioral composite of the unknown, put together after analyzing the crime scene and other important information pertaining to the crime. This can include the autopsy...
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