White Paper on Criminal Profiling

Criminal profiling is a process that uses evidence which is derived from crime scenes to come up with inferences in regard to potential suspects by including psychopathology and personality qualities (Antonio, 2010). In the past few decades, criminal profiling has increased in importance as a tool to help in detecting and capturing criminals while conducting criminal investigations (Turvey, 2012). Furthermore, criminal profiling has come to become one of the most widely use offender profiling tool when it comes to defining the behavior and psychology of an offenders. Building a profile of an offender is key in understanding how he or she chooses his or her victims, location preferred, crime scene characteristics, predatory behaviors and many more (Devery, 2010). In this paper, various aspects like methods used in criminal profiling, psychopathy, ethical issues, legal issues, predatory behaviors, forensic evaluation, and forensic victimology will be discussed in detail.
Methods of criminal profiling
It is important to understand that since there is no one single agreed method of carrying out criminal profiling, various methods have been used since then. (Turvey, 2012). In criminal profiling, two main approaches can be taken: Profiling on the personal and behavioral characteristics exhibited and geographic profiling. Profiling with the use of personal and behavioral characteristics is the most commonly used (Alasdair, 2012). When it comes to geographic method of profiling, it entails identifying the location of the residence of an offender through looking at his past crime scenes (Derek, 2006). For instance, a serial criminal who has committed more than 5 offences in a year in the state of Illinois, most likely resides in the state. Pinpointing to the exact location where he or she resides can take the help of more than one crime scene location to deduce the proximity or estimated area from which the offender could be living. For instance, organized offenders most likely tend to come from within the given areas as they have time to study a given victim.
Another example of a method used in criminal profiling is the scientific method. Science always aims at proving theories through developing hypothesis. Scientific method of criminal profiling usually aims at investigating why and how a given thing occurs through developing hypothesis. In using this methods, it aims at looking at aspects which are measurable, reliable and whose evidence can be replicated through research or experimentation (Alasdair, 2012). A good example of scientific method in criminal profiling could be the study of predatory behaviors exhibited by sexual offenders. Certain similarities can be deduced from one sex offender to the other and can provide a good basis in profiling similar criminals in the future.
Another example of a method used in criminal profiling is the idiographic method. This method aims at studying offenders in regard to the qualities and behaviors that they exhibit (Turvey, 2012). This method can look in the past and present qualities and behaviors of an offenders and seen how they have been changing through time. For instance, first offenders are usually disorganized in their crime scenes compared to serial offenders who are organized. In studying one offender, one can clearly see how he or she adapts or changes as he or she advances as he or she becomes confident (Alasdair, 2012). Nomothetic method is another criminal profiling method which studies the behavior of people in a group. For example, previous files of 50 sex offenders can be studied to look into common characteristics which they share (Turvey, 2012).
Evidence and investigative analysis approach has been used for decades in building criminal profiles. Take for instance, studying clues left at crimes scenes or on victims to build a profile of a given criminal. For instance, some criminals leave certain things at crime scenes to distinguish them from others. In case such details are missed in a crime scene suspected to be of such an offender, then a copycat could be the one carrying out the acts (Alasdair, 2012). Crime scene evidence, victim based evidenced and investigative analysis evidence can be resourceful in building the profiles of certain criminals.
Another method which has been applied in criminal profiling is investigative psychology. In this case, a psychologist is used to look into the behavior of the criminal by looking at his past crime scenes and evidence collected. By establishing the behavioral pattern of the given offender, such information can be used in profiling such offenders (Devery, 2010).
Ethical and Legal issues in criminal profiling
There have been a number of ethical and legal issues when it comes to criminal profiling. In the past few years, scholars have been asking questions on whether the use of criminal profiling is court adds weight to the case or not (Maurice, 2002). Based on the fact that there is no specific field that teaches people to become criminal profilers, many are left wondering if such evidence brought in by criminal profilers should be legally used in court or not. There are many people who can venture to become criminal profilers, for instance, a psychologist, a psychiatrist and even a forensic pathologist (Maurice, 2002). All these people can profile criminals, but there methods tend to vary since there is no single method which they abide to. In the past, criminal profiling was majorly based on theories, some of which were not scientifically proven. Therefore, when in court, presenting such theories as the methods which were used in building the case of a certain criminal can be face legal issues if the theories cannot be scientifically proven (Maurice, 2002). Take for example, a criminal profiler that uses idiographic method of profiling offenders. Such a methods studies qualities and behaviors, something which is dynamic in each individual and cannot be measured scientifically. Furthermore, criminal profiling has also been under ethical scrutiny (Devery, 2010). First of all, people have always been concerned about its competence based on lack of proper training for the profilers. There is no single system of profiling which has been accepted worldwide to be formal, hence making people to question its methodology (Maurice, 2002). For instance, a psychologist will use a different approach in criminal profiling when compared to a forensic pathologist.

Is this question part of your assignment?

Place order