Criminal Profiling Research Paper

Introduction

Criminal profiling happens to be an investigative tool that is used mostly by the security forces. This is aimed at helping them predict and identify characteristics of criminals who are not yet known. This idea has many names as it can also be referred to as criminal personality profiling and criminological profiling (Kocsis, 223). Despite all these descriptions, it serves only one aspect of allowing investigators to compile and come up with the right description of the criminal involved. The criminal investigative analysis can also employ some geographical profiling to determine the location of the offender.

The criminal profiling procedure is applied by detectives for the purpose of fulfilling certain needs in the investigative report (Kocsis and Heller, 2004). For instance, the main point is to enable law enforcement officers to gain a high knowledge of the criminal. This is done on the basis of social and psychological aspects of the offender in order to understand the circumstances of the offence being committed (Kwok. 2005). This is followed by the second aim of providing the investigative bodies with a perfect psychological evaluation of the criminal. This is aided by the evaluation and scrutiny of the belongings of the criminal.

After these two processes, there is a third goal whose aim is to highlight suggestions as well as strategies for use during the interviews. As a matter of fact, in the modern world, criminal profiling happens to be a very critical step in investigative science hence being the third phase of the whole process. For instance, the first wave of criminology involved the studying of the criminal’s cues, and it was applied during the 19th century. The second phase followed later and this involved studying of the crime committed by the offender. This include issues such as frequency studies as well as other aspects of connecting the criminal with the events they participated in. currently, it’s now what we are referring to as criminal profiling and it majors on studying the criminal’s psyche.

The criminal profiling job is done by people referred to as criminal profilers, and they work closely with the detectives in the investigation. Their work is to help the detectives to come up with leads on high profile criminal suspects (Wroblewski, Wiggins and Ryan, 2006). With their knowledge, they identify various factors which explain almost everything about specific criminals. In this case, profilers engage in analyzing the information and materials collected from the scenes of crime.

The process of criminal profiling is also made effective by the information obtained from the ballistic experts. This applies on cases where there were incidences of shooting and some ballistic evidence is obtained (Bennell, Taylor and Snook, 2007). A criminal profile can be created from any blood stains and is done by blood stain analysts who undertake extensive research on the component. For instance, the Deoxyribonucleic acid of the criminal is able to be identified if their blood was left at the crime scene. As a whole, these groups can be referred to as forensic experts who look at all the aspects revolving around the crime. This is done for the purposes of coming up with clear descriptions of the criminal.

Criminal profiling thus deals with compiling and developing a perfect psychological profile of the criminal. The highest stronghold of getting this important information is the crime scene where every data is able to be collected. With this phase being associated with studying the psyche of a criminal, then it has to be done by experts. These are thus experienced forensic experts who have a high experience on criminal minds.

The criminal profile being emphasized in this case provides a sketch of the psychological status of the criminal.

Based on the information collected from the crime scene, a profiler can gain a lot of knowledge about the mental status of the offender. This aspect is thus very useful in homicide cases as the reason for undertaking such an act is well identified effectively (Bennell, Taylor and Snook, 400). As a matter of fact, if not applied, then many offenders can go scot free even after causing atrocities to the victims. Criminal profiling is thus an important aspect that works well with rapists, arsonists and homicide murderers.

To be precise, criminal profiling majors on the crime scene because the organization or disorganization of the criminal is identified (Kocsis, 2005). This is because there are criminals tend to plan things ahead before executing them. In this case, an organized criminal is known to plan ahead and lays everything in strategic positions waiting for the main deal. This is a person who does not take chances but is very prepared and carries everything that is needed. With such kind of information, profilers are able to determine the kind of person they are dealing with. With this, the detectives ought to be sharp because the person in question is a smart criminal who conceals any possible evidence.

On the other hand, the disorganized criminal tends to leave trails of evidence at the crime scenes something which eases crime profiling. According to researchers, most of the organized criminals happen to be the first children in their families (Torres, Boccaccini &Miller, 2006). It has also been concluded that they are very intelligent people who engage in certain actions due to some stressful situations. Due to secrecy and smartness involved, getting them tends to be very difficult as they conceal any evidence. As a result of this, they even go ahead to extend of watching as the investigations are being undertaken. In a case like this, criminal profilers tend to have a lot of work in compiling the necessary details about the offender.

On the other hand, it’s very easy to collect information about a disorganized criminal because of the spontaneous offenses they commit. In this case, a disorganized criminal depersonalizes the victim, hence erasing himself from the crime because there is not much to be analyzed. As a result of this, criminal profiling enables the drawing of lots of conclusions from the scene of crime (Kocsis, 2006). Criminal profiling has proved that most of these offenders are not intelligent enough to be very smart. In most cases, these comprise of children or medium age offenders who are not organized.

Criminal profiling tends to work well on analyzing the above stated criminals because of how they operate. However, this is different with criminals who possess both the criminal traits hence being more difficult to deal with. This is because the scene of crime seems to comprise of both aspects of disorganized, and an organized criminal. For instance, the offender might have used their own tools and randomly picked a victim (Snook, Eastwood and Gendreau, 2007). As a result of this complexity, creating a file of a mixed offender tends to be more complicated than for the other offenders. The detectives are at this stage faced with a lot of complications as the available materials for analysis are not easy to extract information.

At this point, criminal offenders have been seen to help in gathering information about the potential offenders. However, this is not the only function as it assists in narrowing the large numbers of suspected criminals presented by the police (Dowden and Bennell. 2006). As a result of this aspect, investigators have been able to apprehend many criminals by differentiating the guilty and the not guilty ones. This has been made possible by the ability of the criminal profiling to access the patterns of previous criminal activities. In this perspective, detectives have been able to easily highlight and predict the characteristics of the offenders in question. This is to mean that killers and other potential criminals do not get to escape free (Homant, 1998). They are thus caught and apprehended in order to prevent them from engaging in more criminal activities…

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The process of criminal profiling as it pertains to serial killers is extremely interesting and much more common than one would first think. This study deals with the research into the developmental and psychological approaches to serial killers. In the process of studying these offenders, researchers have discovered that crime scene manifestations of behavioral patterns enabled the investigators to discover much about the offender (Jones The Process of Criminal Profiling When Applied To A Serial Killer 1). Most crime scenes can tell long detailed stories, and with the right investigators following every detail within that story, the positive chance of finding a conclusion to that story is not always there. Investigators must always keep in mind the fact that normal human behavior, traits, and patterns usually remain consistent, regardless of the activity being performed. Whether a serial killer knows it or not, every murder they commit, they leave their distinguishable mark in some way or another, and that is the key lead that criminal profiler's use to catch the correct person (Munn and Douglas Violent Crime Scene Analysis: Modus Operandi, Signature, and Staging 1).

Criminal profiling is an effective way to identify and find a criminal. The term serial applied to the word murder or killer can raise problems and questions. Serial implies that several murders have taken place at different times. No universal definition is currently used to describe the term serial murder.

Three key factors to a serial murderer are the number of victims, time period, and the fact that each killing in some way or another is methodical (The Very Emphasis Of The Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Kill 3). Processes of examining all aspects of the crime scene in order to build up a picture of the person who committed the crime are called profiling (Forensic Psychology 1). Profiling can piece together such a complete picture of the offender with traits of the offenders including sex, age, occupation, disorders, upbringing, marital status, home, type of car they drive, etc (Forensic Psychology 2). Before the term serial killer was coined in the mid- 1970 s, such murders were referred to as stranger murders. The term stranger murders was used to differentiate the victims of serial killings from the victims who were killed by people he or she knew, usually family members. The great killers of history had been ones who had killed their wives, or possibly massacred their family members one by one.

For most people, the idea and the emotional components of inter familial violence could seem somewhat understandable. At one time or another, most people processed the thought of raising an angry hand at a child or spouse, and could even comprehend how, in a fit of rage, such an emotion could escalate to murder. In contrast, the emotional components of a stranger murder seemed unreasonable and incomprehensible to people (Ressler and Shachtman I Have Lived In The Monster 46). There are three possible manifestations of offender behavior at a crime scene modus operandi, perforation or signature, and staging. Each of these manifestations plays an important role of analyzing a crime scene in terms of human behavior (Douglas and Munn 1). Modus operandi is the offenders actions while committing the crime, and the victim ology.

Unfortunately, investigators have a tendency to place too much significance on the modus operandi when linking separate crimes to one another. In many cases, the use of modus operandi and victim ology alone can fail to link a serial killers to all of his or her possible murders. The victims response can also affect modus operandi. A prime example would be if a rapist has problems controlling a victim, he will modify the modus operandi to adjust the resistance. He may use duct tape, other ligatures, or a weapon on the victim.

Or, he may even injure the victim to incapacitate her. If such measures are ineffective, he may resort to greater violence or he may kill them. Incarceration can also impact on the future modus operandi of offenders, especially in career criminals. Offenders refine their modus operandi as they learn from the mistakes that lead to their arrests. Thus, offenders are constantly reshaping their modus operandi's to meet the demands of their crime (2). The violent and repetitive offender can often exhibit another behavior known as the signature aspect or calling card.

This criminal behavior is usually an imperative part of the offenders behavior and tends to go beyond the actions necessary to commit the crime. Violent crimes are often brought to surface by the fantasies of offenders. When these crimes are eventually acted out, some aspect of each crime can demonstrate a unique, personal expression or ritual based on these fantasies (2). Purely committing the crimes does not satisfy the need of the offender, and this insufficiency compels them to go beyond just the offense of murder or what it may be, and perform a ritual.

The calling card is when the offender leaves the ritual display at the crime scene. For example, the signature of many rapists is done by engaging in acts of manipulation or domination during the physical, verbal, or sexual phase of the assault. Vulgar and abusive language or preparation of a script for the victim to repeat represents a verbal signature. An example of sexual signature behavior would involve an offender who repeatedly engages in a specific order of sexual activity with different victims. Unlike the modus operandi, the signature aspect remains a constant and enduring part of each offender. The signature aspect may evolve, but will always retain the elements of the original scene.

The modus operandi will always play an important role in linking cases. However, the modus operandi should not be the only criteria used to connect crimes, especially with repeat offenders who alter their modus operandi. Signature aspect should receive greater consideration than the modus operandi due to the fact that the signature aspect will never change and always have the same original theme as is displayed in the initial crime committed by the offender (3). When approaching a crime scene investigators should always look for behavioral clues left by the offender (6). Investigators may analyze crime scenes and uncover facts that may baffle them.

These details may contain such unique peculiarities that serve no purpose in the action of the crime and obscure the underlying motive of the crime. Confusion caused by these seemingly useless clues may be the cause of a crime scene behavior called staging. Staging occurs when someone purposely alters a crime scene prior to the arrival of the police. This takes place for two reasons to veer investigators away from the most logical suspect, or to protect the victim or the victims family. Most offenders with this type of behaviors do not just happen to stumble upon the victim walking down the street, but always have some kind of relationship or association with the victim. When in contact with law enforcement, this person will attempt to steer the investigation away from himself, usually by being overly cooperative or overly distraught.

Investigators should never eliminate a suspect who displays such a distinctive behavior. When staging is used to protect the victim or the victims family, it occurs for the most part in rape-murder cases or autoerotic fatalities. Usually a family member or whoever finds the body will perform this type of staging. The perpetrators of the crime may leave the bodies in such degrading positions; those who find the body may attempt to restore some dignity for the victim. Essentially, these people are trying to prevent future shock that may be brought about the position, dress, or condition of the victim.

For both types of staging, investigators need to obtain an accurate description of the bodys condition and position when found and determine exactly what did the person who found the body do to alter the crime scene. At some crime scenes, the investigator needs to be able to differentiate between whether the scene is truly disorganized or if the offender staged the scene. This determination helps to direct the analysis of the underlying motive, and also helps shape the offender profile. Recognition of staging can be difficult, therefore investigators must examine all aspects of the scene if they suspect it has been staged (7). Although criminal profiling is an incredibly detailed process, it is a key factor in determining the offender in a crime. Criminal profiling is an effective way to identify and find a criminal.

Profiling is not used in all cases; it is most commonly used in cases of extremely violent homicide, rape, potential serial killings, and potential serial rapes. By using such behavioral patterns as staging, signature, and modus operandi, a profiler can narrow the search for an offender greatly. Even though there are many generalities in a profile, profiler's are able to get more specific by looking at either the crime scene or photographs of the crime scene (Jones 1). When approaching a crime scene with the awareness of the factors used by profiler's (signature, staging, modus operandi), investigators can improve their ability to read the story of each violent crime scene.

By doing so, they will become more knowledgeable and better equipped to apprehend the violent crime offender. Without criminal profiling, investigators would be working with much less information, and their chances of catching offenders would be lessened greatly. Profiling is used to apprehend the most dangerous criminals, the ones who leave tiny little trip-ups, indecipherable clues, and psychological mind games.


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