A crime must be abolished not the criminal. This is a basic concept of the
Reformative theory of punishment but whether this particular thing is happening
in the society? NO. Why? Because it is very common to understand HOW a crime is
committed, but the technical problem is to understand is WHY a crime is
There are many ways to understand why a crime is committed because from time to
time many Criminologists have given many theories related to causation of crime.
There is Economic theory, social theory, psychological theory, Psychodynamic
approach, Anthropological theory, Geographical theory, biological theory and
many more. And many a times, they are really helpful to understand the causation
of crime. But still there is a problem to understand why a particular crime is
Especially in cases of a heinous crime or serial killing or of serial sexual
predator, the psyche of the offender has to be understood and it is very
difficult to understand the psyche of the offender in such cases. Therefore,
Criminal Profiling is something that is to understand the psyche of a criminal
and also to understand what is his behaviour, his pattern of crime, and with the
help of that particular technique it is also possible to understand what was
going to be future crime of that particular criminal.
Therefore, the technique
of criminal profiling come up to be very effective. The technique of criminal
profiling was first ever used in the case of Jack the reaper. Basically, this
was happened in UK where there was a serial killing of prostitutes and the
killer was killing those prostitutes in a particular pattern.
By using this
pattern, he was not only killing the prostitutes but he also does a sexual
assault on them and used to cut a private part of those prostitutes. Although
this particular case is still unsolved, but the pattern to know the psyche of
the criminal was first ever used in the case of Jack the reaper. So, this is the
history, but later on not only UK but US also adopted this technique. And this
is really helpful in the case of a heinous crime. No matter it is a crime of a
sexual predator, serial killer or even terrorism.
Criminal Profiling is the identification and evaluation of specific
characteristics of an offender who commit a specific crime through systematic
observational process. Also, it is an analysis of the victims, crime scene, the
forensic evidence and the facts of the crime. It is used to understand the basic
psyche of the criminal with the help of behaviour scientists and criminologists.
They go to the crime scene and try to understand not only about the criminal but
also the history of a victim because the history of a victim is something that
is really important to understand the basic concept or idea behind any crime. On
the basis of the history of the victim or the crime scene and the pattern of the
crime, it is helpful for the criminal profiler to understand not only the behaviour of the criminal but also, he can draw a picture of any suspect. But
one must remember one thing very clearly that it is only a 'prediction' of the
Criminal profiling does not mean that it will identify who is a
suspect, rather it only says that they may be a suspect because they are just
suspect and not the actual offender.
So, Criminal Profilers can identify which type of personality that particular
offender is having and what is a pattern of that particular crime. Not only
this, but they are also helpful in making us understand what would be a future
incidence or a future crime of that particular criminal. So, this technique is
really very helpful to identify not only the crime and criminals too. It also
helps for the prevention of a future crime.
Popularly, there are four approaches to criminal profiling:
Also, there are two popular techniques which is used in UK and US:
- The geographical approach:
To deduce links between crimes and about the place where offenders stay and work.
- The clinical approach:
Here the offenders thought to be suffering from dementia or other psychological aberrations. By taking help of insights from psychiatry and clinical psychology, they conduct the investigation.
- Investigative psychology:
It is used to establish psychological theories and techniques to predict an offender's behavioral characteristics.
- The typological approach:
It is to analyze the characteristic of crime scenes in order to categorize the offenders into groups of typical characteristics.
This technique is commonly used in the US. It is basically used by the FBI in the US. This has been started after
a series of in-depth interviews with 36 offenders who were sexually oriented murderers. So, after the interview
of these particular murderers, this technique has been started.
There are four steps of the top-down technique:
They advanced a theory that lust murderers are mainly categorized by two types: � Organized and disorganized.
- STEP 1 - Data assimilation: This involves gathering information from multiple sources such as interviews,
crime scene photographs, police/pathology reports, etc.
- STEP 2 - Crime scene classification: In this step, profilers determine if the suspect has characteristic
traits of an organised or disorganized offender.
- STEP 3 - Crime reconstruction: This step is based on the analysis done in the previous steps; here the crime
scene is reconstructed. This involves determining victim behavior, the sequence of crimes, etc.
- STEP 4 - Profile generation: In the final step, profilers deduce a sketch of the offender including
behavioral, demographic, and physical characteristics.
An organized offender leads an ordered life and kills after some sort of critical life event. Their actions are
premeditated and planned, they are likely to bring weapons and restraints to the scene. They are likely to be of
average to high intelligence and employed.
- Organized offenders: They show signs of having planned their crime in advance.
- Personal characteristics: socially adequate, sexually competent, charming, geographically/occupationally
mobile, high IQ, lives with a partner.
- Post-offense behavior: returns to the crime scene, volunteers information.
- Interview techniques: use direct strategies.
A disorganized offender is more likely to have committed the crime in a moment of passion. There will be no
evidence of premeditation, and they are more likely to leave evidence such as blood, semen, murder weapon, etc.
behind. This type of offender is thought to be less socially competent and more likely to be unemployed.
- Disorganized offenders: They show little sign of planning.
- Personal characteristics: socially inadequate, sexually incompetent, lives and works near the crime scene, low
IQ, lives alone.
- Post-offense behavior: returns to the crime scene to relive the event, keeps diary/news cuttings of events.
- Interview techniques: empathize with the offender, introduce evidence indirectly.
Bottom-Up technique This technique is considered as a more scientific and rational approach because it is not based on previous assumptions. Alternatively, profilers put together all the information and then build up a logical description based on that. It helps to identify the offender's routine behaviour which may reflect the crime.
Basically, this technique has also two aspects:
Criminal profiling is a perfect combination of the rational and psychological
instincts with the detail and fine points of the crime scene.
- Interpersonal consistency:
It is basically the relation between victim and the
offender. Criminal profilers try to find out relationship between both of them
and on the basis of that particular relation, they identify what would be the
reason behind any crime.
- Special consistency:
It is used to identify the geographical area of the crime
scene i.e., where the crime is committed. This basically is used to identify
what could be a crime mapping i.e., whether or in which area/location, at what
time, the another or a future crime can be committed. On the basis of this
particular technique, they used to find out how and why the crime is committed
on that particular location only because that can play a very important role to
The process of
criminal profiling is divided into 5 stages:
- Profiling Inputs:
Profiling inputs are basically to understand how a crime is committed and on the
top of it, why the crime is committed? How it can be helpful? How to use this
particular process? It is necessary to gather all the possible data or
information related to that particular crime. It may be by taking or gathering
all the information by the crime scene, by the forensic report, by other report
that is helpful to assess that particular crime by the information or interviews
of the society, friends, family, peer group, place of work, crime incidence,
etc. all the possible information must be gathered to make a profile input.
- Decision processing:
It is basically to understand why that particular crime has been committed that
means to understand the motive of that criminal. Why he has selected that
particular victim. Where he might be residing. Where the victim is residing.
Where that offender is professional or amateur? What would be the idea of
committing that particular crim. These are the things which can be identified in
this particular process.
- Crime assessment:
It is basically to draw or reconstruct the whole of the event or whole of the
crime scene or an action or incident of that particular crime. No matter it is
pre-crime, during-crime or post-crime, what would have happened before or what
was the psyche of that criminal or what was the incident which triggered that
offender to commit a crime or what would be happening at that particular
incident at the place or during the time. What happened after the commission of
the crime? All the picture was reconstructed and that is also helpful to
understand the behaviour of not only offender but also a victim.
- Offender profile:
In this stage, it is easy for any criminal profiler who make a hypothetical
picture of an offender that means which type of behaviour that offender is
having and why he has committed crime. Now the information or profile of that
particular offender include about the age, sex, criminal behaviour, place of
residence, whether working or not, whether organised or disorganized, whether
normal or having any mental illness, which type of behaviour or pattern of crime
he/she is using, etc. thus in this stage a profile of the offender is made.
- Investigative us:
It is last step of criminal profiling process because at this stage any criminal
profiling is having an idea of a crime scene. Also, the idea of type of a
suspect offender, behaviour of offender, pattern of the offender. So, this could
be useful in investigation process for any of the law enforcement agency to
narrow down the suspect.
A crucial concept of this approach is interpersonal coherence, the way an
offender behaves while committing a crime, e.g. the way they interact with the
victim, reflects the way they behave and interact in their everyday life.
A second key concept of Canter's theory is spatial consistency. He assumes that
offenders operate in areas that they know well. Canter and Larkin (1993)
proposed two categories of offenders:
Marauders: they commit their crimes close to where they live and feel secure.
Commuters: they commit their crimes away from where they usually live and over
This has been the base of geographical profiling. Geographical Profiling is used
to make inferences about where an offender is likely to live. This is also known
as crime mapping.
Criminal profiling is an in-depth analysis of the crime scene and finding common
patterns with previous incidents. It helps to identify the choice of victims,
manner, time and location, types of the crime, communication from the suspect
and the condition of the crime scene. Multiple other factors are taken into
consideration in order to determine the age, race, mental state and other
characteristics of a suspect.
Ultimately, criminal profilers are able to draw a
picture of the possible and reliable motives of the crime. However, criminal
profilers should not be confused as a tool that helps to identify the specific
offender linked to a crime. Rather, it helps to deduce conclusions on the most
'likely' offender who has committed that crime.
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- Dean (2007). Criminal Profiling. Criminal Profiling in a Terrorism Context
- Bumgarner (2008). Criminal Profiling. Criminal Profiling and Public Policy
- Turvey (2012). Criminal Profiling. A History of Criminal Profiling
- Petherick & Turvey (2012). Criminal Profiling. Criminal Profiling
- Kocsis (2008). Criminal Profiling. Schools of Thought Related to Criminal Profiling
- Kocsis & Palermo (2008). Criminal Profiling. Contemporary Problems in Criminal Profiling
- Paclebar et al. (2008). Criminal Profiling. Criminal Profiling
- MacKay (2009). Lucent Books. Criminal profiling
- Anniss (2014). Gareth Stevens Publishing. Criminal profiling
- Stefoff (2011). Marshall Cavendish Benchmark. Criminal profiling
- Davis (2007). Gareth Stevens Pub. Criminal profiling
- Aydina & Dirilen-Gumus (2015). Koros Press Limited. Criminal profiling