Sunday, December 5, 2010
GUEST POST BY CRIMINOLOGIST/AUTHOR--JENNIFER CHASE
What’s the Real Deal on Criminal Profiling?
Criminal profiling is not a type of psychic or intuitive paranormal ability. It is a behavioral analysis used as a practical scientific resource in criminal investigations. Criminal profiles should never offer quick estimates, guesswork, or academic statistics. That technique is not a “real” criminal profile and doesn’t have any value in an investigation. That’s the cold, hard facts of the matter.
The goal of the criminal profiling process is to objectively analyze and infer traits of an individual through scientific behavioral and physical evidence. It helps to identify an individual(s) who have committed a specific crime or set of crimes in order to narrow the suspect list and to move the investigation process forward. This is an important investigative tool and it is especially important during the deductive profiling phase of behavioral evidence analysis.
Deductive profiling entails a criminal profile or investigative report that reviews and describes relevant physical and behavioral evidence patterns within a crime or related crimes. A profiler must possess “absolute objectivity” in searching for “facts” and be able to interpret the findings in preparing a complete criminal profile.
There are two types of effective profiles used: threshold assessment and complete criminal profile.
A criminal profile shouldn’t take the place of solid investigative work; however, it should be one of the pieces available in the criminal investigation arsenal. No two crime scenes occur in the same way, or are ever exactly alike. This is where it’s important for the investigator/profiler to use his or her analytical and deductive reasoning skills in an objective manner.
According to criminal profiler and forensic scientist, Brent Turvey, a “threshold assessment” refers to a document that reviews the initial evidence of crime behavior analysis, victimology, and crime scene characteristics of a particular case or a series of cases. This scientific procedure is the evaluation of what is understood to be fact about a particular case or series of cases, and does not render the conclusions or opinions of a full criminal profile report.
A “threshold assessment” should include the following:
1. Overview of established facts of the case.
2. Overview of established facts relevant to the victimology (thorough study of the victim).
3. Overview of established facts relevant to the crime scene.
4. Initial hypothesis of motivational behaviors.
5. Initial hypothesis of offender characteristics.
6. Suggestions of further facts needed to be determined or analyzed.
7. Suggestions of further facts needed through victimology.
8. Suggestions and potential strategies for suspect development.
All of this information is helpful in creating a full, complete criminal profile.
A complete criminal profile refers to a “court-worthy” document that incorporates all of the physical and behavioral evidence relating to the known victimology and crime scene characteristics of the offender responsible for the crime or series of crimes. This document concludes with the opinions and conclusion of the profiler of the most logical suspect for the case or series of cases.
Criminal profiling shouldn’t be limited to just homicide investigations; it can used for burglary, rape, and arson investigations as well. In fact, unsolved burglary and rape cases would absolutely benefit from criminal profiles in order to close more cases.
Below is the link to Jennifer's latest novel, "Silent Partner."