The process of inferring the personality characteristics of individuals responsible for committing criminal acts has commonly been referred to as criminal profiling. (Turvey) Criminal profiling can also be referred to as, behavioral profiling because when a profiler creates a profile they refer to the behavior of the offender. The general term criminal profiling can also be referred to as crime scene profiling, criminal personality profiling, offender profiling, psychological profiling and criminal investigative analysis. All the terms listed above are used inconsistently and interchangeably. Modern criminal profiling is owing to a diverse history grounded in the study of criminal behavior (criminology), the study of mental illness (psychology and psychiatry), and the examination of physical evidence (the forensic sciences). (Turvey) There are four very important elements that contribute to the making of a criminal profile. These elements are victimology, wound pattern analysis, crime scene characteristics and criminology. Victimology is the study of victims. The profilers ask themselves questions such as, “Why this person?” and “Was the victim related to their killer or attacker?” Wound pattern analysis is the study of the way the wounds on the victim were made. Crime scene characteristics help to the making of a profile by showing profilers what exactly went on during the crime. Criminology is the study of the crime, criminals and criminal behaviors.
Although these elements are extremely important there are other elements to criminal profiling that help build the profile.
Victimology requires the investigator to create a profile of the victim, which in turn can give clues as to the identity of the criminal. The identity of the victim, including their gender, ethnicity, and so on (particularly if several victims have these same characteristics), can help investigators determine that the criminal is targeting a certain type of individual, and from this, can deduce motive. Secondly, the physical aspects of the victim are important as well; is the victim is heavy, and was dragged for a long distance, it can be surmised that the criminal is strong and may have a muscular appearance. (Patterson) Victimology is first and foremost an investigative tool, providing context, connections, and investigative direction. (Turvey) Some people may ask, “Why profile the victim?” but profiling the victim is a very important element that helps profilers better understand the criminal. Profilers look at the general lifestyle and activities of the victim in order to know who had access to them and when. Knowing the victim and properly profiling them may establish a relational link between the victim and criminal. When profiling a victim it is important to look at them as a real person as well as a victim. Some investigators and detectives have a tendency to deify or vilify the victim in a case. Deification involves idealizing victims....