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Criminal Profiling Techniques Essay

1359 words - 5 pages

Derived from the Latin word ‘filum’, ‘to profile’ means ‘to thread’ or ‘to shape’. Profiling broadly means identifying social, emotional, and physical characteristics of an offender based on the data gathered at the crime-scene. This method of criminal identification is based on criminology, psychology, behavioural studies and forensic sciences. Previously used in investigating for serial crimes, criminal profiling techniques are nowadays used by crime-scene investigators to identify possible personal traits, characteristics, social life aspects and occupational background of offenders and thus to narrow down the list of suspects even in less complicated cases like arson, murder, rape, and cyber crime in order to save time and resources.

Literature Review

In as early as 1880’s the ‘White-Chappel Murders’ case (‘Jack The Ripper’), help of the first profiler, Dr. Thomas Bond, autopsy surgeon for London Metro Police, was seeked for his experience (O'Connor, 2014). The results were amazing and attracted the attention of law enforcement agencies, the media, and the public in general. Profiling became all-pervasive and an integral part of investigative teams in the late 20th and 21st Century (Curtis R. Bartol, Anne M. Bartol, 2013, p. 1).
The broad application and use of profiling techniques by different types of profilers led to the development of many approaches which are quite similar to one another and to the confusion on the academic and research side of profiling.
There are three commonly-known methods of profiling:
a. Clinical Method
The Clinical Method, the oldest form of profiling, looks at the offender’s psychological state. Knowledge of psychological disorders, mental health problems and clinical practice expertise are used by profilers to determine the underlying motivation of the offender. This method has been mostly used in violent crime cases where profilers try to find the reasoning and mental ability of the offender, which could have led to the commission of the particular crime. This method was applied to the first case of profiling, the ‘White-Chappel Murders’ case (vide supra). Since, it is mostly based on profilers’ knowledge and expertise, it has been highly criticised for being subjective and full of profilers’ personal biases (Ebisike, 2008, pp. 19-20). Even Britton has been highly criticised for that matter since he does not always use psychological studies to explain how he deduces profile, instead he says that it is his own expertise, instinct and deep analysis which led to the profile.

b. Criminal Investigative Analysis (CIA) Method or Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Method
The fact that the FBI method is the most world widely used method of profiling, is in itself proof of its efficacy and success (Kocsis, 2006). According to FBI’s organized-disorganized dichotomy, proceedings to make a profile are to classify firstly the offence as either planned or unplanned, secondly the offender as...

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