Table of Contents
Offender profiling highlights the need for using inference about the nature of a criminal derived from particular aspects of a committed crime. The approach offers an alternative that applies psychological perspectives to complement traditional means of investigation and identify suspected culprits. The investigative branch of psychology considers the processes of outlining notable characteristics of the offenders based on the evidence found at the crime scenes and the information related to the offenses (Ainsworth, 2013). This method of criminal investigation raises numerous queries because of the abilities linked to the profilers who study and interpret the acts associated with individuals who have committed serious crimes including rape and serial murders (Ainsworth, 2013). The impact of crimes on the society demands the application of multiple methods targeted at treating different cases. While some of the cases, which involve particularly serious crimes, remain unsolved, the level of fear and anxiety of the public increases the need for eliminating the puzzles. It could lead to the arrest of the culprits. Offender profiling provides one of the tools used in criminal investigation. It encompasses the application of crime scene evidence and witnesses’ testimonies as well as the definition of the features of the victims, which help to give the description of the behavior and identity of the likely suspects.
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Understanding Criminal Profiling and Role of Profilers
Criminal profiling provides the proper avenue that not only facilitates the detention of offenders but also provides the law enforcers with valuable insight into distinctive patterns of crimes. The ability of the police to understand and apply the patterns of crimes in resolving mysterious incidences provides the minimization of crime rate in the society. Criminal profiling has been developed as a branch of the investigation processes that facilitated the apprehension of individuals who committed serious crimes that included rape and murder (Ainsworth, 2013). The attempts of discerning the patterns associated with various crimes have benefited primarily because of the advancement of criminal profiling as an element of investigative activities. Psychologists and profilers have acquired the capacity of assisting the investigation. Particularly, they promoted the identification of offenders based on the features of crimes that the repeated nature of victimization exemplifies.
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Therefore, the pieces of advice, which the profilers offer, base on the motives and evidence found at the crime scenes; they contribute to determining the personality and background of the offenders. Nevertheless, it is essential to underline that offender profiling is the most effective in investigations that involve homicides and serial rapes. However, one cannot succeed in using the method for working with crimes that occur regularly, for example, thefts and burglaries. Police collect huge volume of data as a result of their daily interaction with members of the society and apprehended criminals. The amount of data may seem cumbersome but the gathering of information can be useful for the completion of investigations involving serial murders and other serious crimes (Devery, 2010). Public continues to develop the thoughts about the use and efficacy of offender profiling, and media interest is deemed an impracticable method, which works only in fiction.
Application of Profiling
Profiling underlines the possibility of defining different characteristics of an offender through the careful consideration and examination of patterns that emerge from an offense. Criminal profiling has served as an essential tool that the police used in ensuring that the field of an ongoing investigation is narrowed. It was a mean of yielding better outcomes. The profiling does not ascertain the identity of a perpetrator but it establishes the grounds for considering a range of possible offenders (Ainsworth, 2013). This technique is a tool used for the identification of likely culprits who might commit a certain crime in the ongoing investigations. It focuses on personal traits and behavioral characteristics. The law enforcement agencies benefit from criminal profiling in incidences that involve hostages since the method develops the understanding of the attacker’s identity and helps to enhance the protection of the hostages.
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Only gathering sufficient information that can be used for identifying the behavior and characteristics of the suspects may assist in unraveling some of the crimes that seem peculiar and involve hidden motives. The approach has existed for over a century but its development and application continue being progressively introduced since they require professional training of profilers and psychologists who work with the police (Stefanska et al, 2015). Three broad categories of criminal profiling application exist. They include the development of links between cases, identifying behavioral patterns of sexual offenders, and predictive profiling. The processes of criminal profiling involve the interaction with the offenders in the police custody. A profiler provides both psychological and social evaluations of the criminals.
Notably, criminal profiling specialists use patterns derived from verbal communication, information from friends and family, employment records, and other relevant data. The example of hostage-taking highlights the need for caution and avoidance of worsening the situation; inappropriate actions can lead to the deaths of many victims (Devery, 2010). Therefore, it is very important to develop the understanding of criminal profiling while considering such incidences that require the identification of the behavioral patterns of the offenders. Further, police continue to use criminal profiling in monitoring cases of death threats and words that form a part of the offender’s behavior. Therefore, the profilers have the duty of identifying the elements of speech, which also include tone and vocabulary, that could be used for drafting the signature and characteristics of a criminal (Stefanska, Carter, Higgs, Bishopp, & Beech, 2015). In the incidences where the offenders apply letters to pass threatening messages, the police could exploit the efficacy of criminal profiling to learn more about the suspects’ psychological traits and backgrounds.
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The processes used for recording and preserving the crime scenes may serve as important markers in the completion of investigations (Ainsworth, 2013). In addition, the interviews that involve the victims of the crimes and other people with knowledge of events that took place should be conducted with expertise. The importance of profilers for the investigation processes, especially the interviews with key witnesses and victims, cannot be understated because of the techniques and professional strategies used for the accomplishment of a task.
High magnitude of certain crimes, for example, serial murders and rapes highlights the need for their quick resolution because they increase the level of fear and panic in the society. Furthermore, the majority of the crimes tend to lack distinct motives, and some of them are committed randomly; it makes the arrest of the culprits difficult (Stefanska et al, 2015). Therefore, criminal profiling facilitates the investigation in cases where the matters appear random and sporadic. Offender profiling dispels the notion of some crimes being motiveless. This method provides the avenue for understanding the offenses from the criminals’ perspective.
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It is important to state that different materials obtained at the crime scenes are analyzed while the profilers inform the police about appropriate interviews that could yield results to the investigation process. However, the method works best in cases where the identity of an offender remains unknown after he/she commits a crime with grievous consequences including sexual assault and murder. The input of profilers is valuable for work with multiple crimes that have similar markers; the evidence point to one offender or group of criminals. There are different approaches to the creation of a profile; their use depends on nonphysical and physical information, which increases the quality of the judgment (Stefanska et al, 2015). Some of the important aspects include the layout of a crime scene and the level of aggression that one establishes from the available physical evidence. In addition, the absence or presence of certain items may assist in detailing the tortures that a victim underwent before being raped or murdered.
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Therefore, well-preserved crime scenes offer the information to the profilers who examine the acts of the perpetrators before and after the commission of a crime. Profilers use their experience and skills to draw inferences from the patterns that emerge at the crime scenes; their conclusions concern the meaning of the collected data and motives of the offenders (Ainsworth, 2013). The use of force to a victim or victims indicates the possibility of controlling a person while stabbing can point to the aggression as a reaction to resistance. Profilers work on understanding of things that may be considered minor details for determining the motives and behavior of a criminal.
The additional elements that can help in the investigation concern the examination of the victim’s characteristics, vehicle used, links to other crimes, and the location of a crime scene. Such data can be valuable for determining the demographic and social aspects of a criminal including age, occupation, and race among others (Ainsworth, 2013). The goals associated with criminal profiling indicate the need for narrowing the scope of investigations based on the assumption that the patterns of the crime scenes mirror the personalities of the suspects. The elements of criminal profiling have been included in the entertainment industry. It highlights the importance of using the method in criminal investigations that could stall due to the absence of guiding framework of identifying the offenders.
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The method works and complements other investigative techniques. One may utilize it for managing the crimes of different magnitude. The approach consists of distinct steps, the first of which is the profiling input. The latter highlight the need for studying and analyzing the information and evidence directly connected with a crime. Profilers should not use the information about the suspects while creating the profiles as a mean of avoiding prejudice (Ainsworth, 2013). Four distinct phases of criminal activities are used in the profiling; the first one is an antecedent that defines whether a crime was spontaneous or premeditated (Ainsworth, 2013). The second stage concerns the manner and method of the commission of a crime. It also requires the consideration of victim’s demographic characteristics.
The third aspect regards to the disposal of a body and defining whether the criminal acts were professional or amateur. Finally, the post-offense behavior is scrutinized for monitoring the response of an offender to the ongoing investigation and the growth of media and social attention. Murders and rapes are treated using similar approaches but sexual offenses provide the profilers with more instruments because there is a victim who offers critical information about the nature of an offender (Stefanska et al, 2015). Profiling methods range from the geographical ones to psychological and clinical; all of them may identify the patterns that could explain the behavior of an offender.
The establishment and development of hypotheses, which help to recognize the type of an offender have led to the application of information in the investigative field. The distinct aspects included in the profiling include location, sex, social status, age, and physiological and mental characteristics. The type and nature of crimes under investigation may limit the application of offender profiling but it is crucially important to incorporate it in mainstream investigations. Offender profiling facilitates the identification of a motive and the type of an offense, which certain person is likely to commit. It allows the police and other investigative agencies to concentrate on particular areas. Therefore, offender profiling offers suitable complementary tools, which can be used for narrowing the scope of investigations.