Offender Profiling

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Offender profiling is a method of identifying the perpetrator of a crime based on an analysis of the nature of the offense and the manner in which it was committed. Various aspects of the criminal's personality makeup are determined from his or her choices before, during, and after the crime. This information is combined with other relevant details and physical evidence, and then compared with the characteristics of known personality types and mental abnormalities to develop a practical working description of the offender.

[edit] History

The origins of profiling can be traced back to as early as the Middle Ages, with the inquisitors trying to “profile” heretics. Jacob Fries, Cesare Lombroso, Alphonse Bertillon, Hans Gross and several others realized the potential of profiling in the 1800s although their research is generally considered to be prejudiced, reflecting the biases of their time.

[edit] Notable profilers

[edit] Thomas Bond

During the 1880s, Thomas Bond, a medical doctor, tried to profile the personality of Jack the Ripper. Bond, a police surgeon, assisted in the autopsy on Mary Kelly. In his notes, dated November 10, 1888, he mentioned the sexual nature of the murders coupled with elements of apparent misogyny and rage. Dr. Bond also tried to reconstruct the murder and interpret the behavior pattern of the offender: soon he came up with a profile or signature personality traits of the offender to assist police investigation. The profile said that five murders of seven in the area at the time the report was written had been committed by one person alone who was physically strong, composed, and daring. The unknown offender would be quiet and harmless in appearance, possibly middle-aged, and neatly attired, probably wearing a cloak to hide the bloody effects of his attacks out in the open. He would be a loner, without a real occupation, eccentric, and mentally unstable. He might even suffer from a condition called Satyriasis, a sexual deviancy that is today referred to as hypersexuality or promiscuity. Bond also mentioned that he believed the offender had no anatomical knowledge and could not be a surgeon or butcher. Dr. Bond believed that the offer of a reward would result in those who knew the offender coming forward to speak with the police.[citation needed] Moreover, Dr. Bond later concluded that the same offender was responsible for the murder of Alice McKenzie.

[edit] Walter C. Langer

In 1943, Office of Strategic Services (OSS) asked Dr. Walter C. Langer, a psychoanalyst based in New York, to develop a “profile” of Adolf Hitler. What the OSS wanted was a behavioral and psychological analysis for the construction of strategic plans, given various options.

Dr. Langer used speeches, Hitler's book Mein Kampf, and interviews with people who had known Hitler. This culminated in the presentation of an 135-page profile of possible behavioural traits of Hitler, and his possible reactions to the idea of Germany losing World War II. Dr. Langer’s profile noted that Hitler was meticulous, conventional, and prudish about his appearance and body. He was robust and viewed himself as a standard-bearer and trendsetter. He had manic phases, yet took little exercise. He was in good health, so it was unlikely he would die from natural causes, but he was deteriorating mentally. He would not try to escape to a neutral country. Hitler always walked diagonally from one corner to another when crossing a room, and he whistled a marching tune. He feared syphilis and germs.

The profile also pointed out Hitler's oedipal complex, with the effect being the need to prove his manhood to his mother, and his coprolagnia and urolagnia. He detested the learned and the privileged, but enjoyed classical music, vaudeville, and Richard Wagner's opera. He showed strong streaks of sadism and liked circus acts that were risky and dangerous. He tended to speak in long monologues rather than have conversations. He...
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