Criminal profiling is a tool used by law enforcement agencies to help solve crimes. The purpose is not to identify a specific individual who is the likely offender, but to narrow down a pool of suspects by determining certain characteristics the offender is likely to have. The profile helps law enforcement agencies track down a suspect, or is released to the public to enlist help with determining the identity of the offender.
Geographic profiling uses an offender's past crimes to predict his location. Ideally, profilers need five crimes to create an accurate geographic profile. The different locations of these crimes help investigators narrow down a particular geographic area where the offender may be located. This area may include the offender’s home or work address, his regular travel route or places he frequents for entertainment and recreation.
Investigative psychology uses peer-reviewed research to determine facts about an offender based upon her past crimes. Psychologists work as profilers, basing their findings on published research. Some psychologists feel that utilizing true psychological techniques is the only way to create an accurate and scientifically sound criminal profile.
Criminal Investigative Analysis
Also called crime scene analysis, criminal investigative analysis was established by the FBI. Profilers identify criminals' behavioral patterns and create groups based on like behaviors. This method has come under fire from psychologists because it does not rely on peer-reviewed research or recognize distinct differences in individual behaviors.
Behavioral Evidence Analysis
Behavioral evidence analysis examines evidence that can show how and when an action has taken place. This may be in the form of physical evidence at a crime scene, such as footprints or blood stains. Crime scene evidence helps establish behavior patterns and character traits of an offender, which helps investigators to build a criminal profile.
- Crime Laboratory: The Art of Forensic Psychology
- "Criminal Profiling, Third Edition: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis"; Brent E. Turvey; 2008
- American Psychological Association: Criminal Profiling - The Reality Behind the Myth
- International Academy for Investigative Psychology: Offender Profiling and Criminal Differentiation
- European Association of Psychology and Law: Fact Sheet - Criminal Profiling
- Federal Bureau of Investigation: Criminal Profiling
- Photo Credit 36clicks/iStock/Getty Images
Types of Forensic Serology Tests
Types of Forensic Serology Tests. Forensic serology involves the analysis of blood as well as semen, saliva and other bodily fluids to...
Types of Criminal Psychology
Criminal psychology involves the study of criminals through the application of psychological principles. Criminal psychologists generally have a bachelor's degree in ...
Careers in Criminal Justice Homicide
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 17,000 people were murdered in 2007, validating the need for individuals in the field...
Types of Criminal Cases
A criminal case involves a defendant charged with allegedly committing a crime. There are several different types of criminal cases including misdemeanors...
The Disadvantages of Criminal Profiling
Criminal profiles aim to outline the type of offender who would have committed a particular crime. crime examination (investigation) image by stassad...
What Type of Offenders Qualify for Probation?
Not all criminal defendants qualify for a sentence of probation. There are certain considerations that come into play when it comes to...
The Advantages of Criminal Profiling
Criminal profiling, also sometimes called offender profiling, is not a new practice but remains controversial. There have been high profile instances where...