The idea of criminal profiling was established and nurtured by the Investigative Support Unit. This began in the year 1958 as the Behavioral Science Unit. The men behind this tremendous work were two employees from the department of Federal Bureau of Investigation, Howard Teten and Pat Mullany. Currently, criminal profiling falls under the department of National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime which is among the major components of the Critical Incident Response Group. This department is made up of learned fellows and agents who have undergone immense training in behavioral and forensic science. Also scholars from the mental-health department take part in criminal profiling. In criminal profiling, data concerning the persons backgrounds, the family characteristics and the current behaviors as well as the psychological traits of various types of criminal offenders which are usually obtained from the interviews of convicted criminals. A good example of a convicted criminal is a serial murderer.
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The purpose of a behavioral profile
Behavioral scientists and police men use criminal profiling to carry out investigations on crime offenders who bear personality and behavioral characteristics that correspond with the crime committed. We can therefore conclude that the major objective of criminal profiling is to assist the law enforcers like police officers in refining and limiting the people they suspect to have taken part in the crime so that they can only spent time and resources on the right suspects. This is not to say that Profiling identifies a specific suspect but it only offers the basic biographical description and relevant information that can be used to identify and trace the possible suspect.proffiling can also aid in the identification of the suspect by the involvement of the public members in solving the crime. Here the police can get information from the close friends or family members of the suspect concerning the behavior contact of the suspect which can help in knowing if the suspect took part in the crime. In this case, the friends can be asked to describe the behavior contact of the suspect, how they interpreted this behavioral contact and then request them to appear before the court to testify. This will in the end help to find the person who committed the crime.
Criminal Profiling in the field of serial murder
A serial murder is one who has committed murder in a span of three times and between each case of crime there is an emotional cooling-off periods (Pinizzotto and Finkel, 1990). There are a number of known motivators of crime like manipulation, domination, and control. Studies indicate that serial murderers are usually motivated by sex and emotions.Therefore, he commits crimes to satisfy his emotions and most of them are men. When he does it for the first time and it turns out to be successful, he becomes confident and feels he has more power than the investiative authorities as well as the police officers who so far cannot catch him hence this empowers him to commit more crimes. After the first successful murder crime, the serial killer may relieve his mind by wearing say a necklace he took from the person he killed or by visiting the grave. This may not take long because as the realization that killing does not offer satisfication, the suspect may surrender himself to the law enforcers. Others decide to commit suicide.
In criminal profiling, the behavior of the suspect can help in relating to the crime and therefore help in solving the case. Say the person when growing up was very violent, demonstrated antisocial tendencies which include homicidal triad, had cases of bed wetting at an appropriate age, showed brutality to the animals and the younger siblings, picked up fights with almost everyone and is known for fire starting. Majority of the serial murders demonstrated behaviors like stalkers which advanced into burglary, fetish theft, rape which later lead to murder. It therefore becomes easier for the police to track the suspect if more than two cases of murder are committed by the same suspect unknown to them (Douglas, Ressler, Burgess and Hartman, 1986). This is because the first place where the suspect committed the first crime is likely to be his place of resident or work because this is where the suspect feels emotionally comfortable. All the above information in combination with other evidences can be used in the identification of the actual suspect.
The signature of the suspect and the modus operandi should be analyzed separately if one needs to assess the behavior of any unknown suspect. When we talk about the signature, we deal with the identification of what the suspect does to gain emotional fulfillment. Example is that of a fire starter who after committing the crime, returns to the crime scene as soon as the fire department arrives to watch in order to fulfill his emotions. On the other hand modus operandi defines what the suspect does in his mind to accomplish a crime. This includes a certain behavior like that of a fire starter who at all times leaves his car running in front of the building for him to escape faster. The two are important in the identification of the suspect although a lot of organization and analysis is needed because these patterns differ with every crime.
The profiling strategy
Behavior profiling is the best method that the police and investigation officers can use to arrest an elusive serial murder. Six stages exist through which behavior profiling is done:
1. Profiling inputs
In this first stage, all the relevant information concerning the crime which include the evidence that are seen, the photographs taken from the place where crime was committed, the picture and autopsy reports, the testimony given by the witnesses, and the reports given by the law enforcers.
2. Decision process models
The questions arising from the crime are well arranged in a manner that it becomes easier to obtain the answers. These questions include: one, what type of homicide has been committed? Two, what is the primary motive for the crime: sexual, financial, personal or emotional disturbance? Three, what level of risk did the victim experience, and what level of risk did the murderer take in killing the victim? Four, what was the sequence of acts before and after the killing, and how long did these acts take to commit? Five, where was the crime committed? And lastly, was the body moved, or was it found where the murder had taken place?
3. Crime assessment
Using the answers obtained from stage two, it is possible to identify the behavior of the suspect and that of the victim. The following questions can be used to obtain answers that show their behaviors: One was the murder organized or disorganized? Two, Was the crime staged to mislead the police? Three, what motivations were revealed by such details as cause of death, location of wounds, and position of the body? The following are the three general rules used in profiling: brutal facial injuries point to killers who know their victims, murders committed with whatever weapon happens to be available reflect greater impulsivity than murders committed with a gun and may reveal a killer who lives fairly near the victim and murders committed early in the morning seldom involve alcohol or drugs (Nordell, 2010).
4. Criminal profile
The description of the people suspected to have taken part in the crime is prepared. This description includes the race of the person, the age, the sex, the marital status, living arrangements, employment history, psychological characteristics, beliefs and values, probable reactions to the police and past criminal record.
The search for the real suspect is done. Here a report on all the information concerning the likely suspect is given to the investigators who on several occasions interview the person.
At this stage, the suspect is arrested and taken to court.
Criminal profiling is used to carry out investigations on crime offenders who bear personality and behavioral characteristics that correspond with the crime committed. The major objective of criminal profiling is to assist the law enforcers like police officers in refining and limiting the people they suspect to have taken part in the crime so that they can only spent time and resources on the right suspects. Profiling only offers the basic biographical description and relevant information that can be used to identify and trace the possible suspect.