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Validity, Benefits, and Liabilities of Criminal Profiling

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Validity, Benefits, and Liabilities of Criminal Profiling

Page 1 of 3

Validity, Benefits, and Liabilities of Criminal Profiling

According to an article published in Time magazine on Thomas Lee Dillon, the man convicted of hunting down and murdering five Ohio men in cold blood, there are only three ways you can accurately solve a crime. There must be the presence of physical evidence, an eyewitness to the crime, or a verifiable personal confession. (Ripley et al., 2002).

After studying criminal profiling this week, I believe that two important issues involved in the process are the retrieval of crime scene evidence and the ability to create a more factual profile based primarily on behavioral evidence versus just gut assumptions. The retrieval of crime scene evidence is a very large part of any investigation. However, despite even the best training involving evidence collection methods, sometimes offenders simply do not leave much behind for investigators to work with. It is then that forensic psychology professionals can be of utmost importance.

Criminal profiling has become very popular in today's world due to the media and the popularity of books and movies which are often focused on serial killers. The fascination with capturing and guessing a murderer's next move has drawn much interest to the field however, the real work of a criminal profiler is rarely done in the way that Hollywood has depicted it. Individuals trained in the area of investigative forensic psychology must focus more upon psychological behavior patterns than on the actual physical evidence or concrete patterns that may seem obvious to the general public.

One strength of psychological profiling involves the ability to predict behavioral patterns in hopes of preventing them from being repeated. Unfortunately, there has yet to be any fool proof method created for accomplishing this task. A second strength used in investigations today is geographical profiling. “Geographical profiling refers to the analysis of geographical locations...