FORENSICS - Bottom up approach

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  • Bottom up approach
    • Geographic profiling
      • looks at location where  crime(s) was committed - people commit crimes in places they feel safe, secure and confident in
      • David Canter: circle theory - 'commuters' and 'marauders'
        • marauders - commit crimes in a circle in one area close to where they currently live/work
        • commuter: a person who travels when they commit their crimes - used to live/work there etc
        • Canter and Larkin (1993) - studied 45 sexual assults. Support for their model, but 91% of offenders were identified as marauders - if almost all offenders were mara, classification is not useful
        • Petherick (2006) - flaw in model: if a person's home base is not actually at the centre of the circle, means police may look in the wrong place.
        • Representing ranges in circle is over-simplistic - in cities the patterns may form another shape
      • Canadian models: 'Brentingham model' - location of crime is determined by offenders home, work and leisure areas.
        • Rossmo suggested that this could be reversed ie use a crime location to determine likely residence
      • formula to do the geographical profiling looks at the level/height of the ground
      • police say they find it useful but techniques not often used
      • some of the distinctions applied and the theories used are unnecessary (marauders / commuters) or over simplified (circle theory)
      • not clear that 'ordinary' police work would not have caught these criminals
      • Rossmo (1999) - may not solve crimes specifically, it is useful in prioritising house-to-house searches or identifying place where DNA can be found
      • profiling can't distinguish between multiple offenders in one area
      • method is limited to spatial behaviour (not any personality characteristics)
      • geographical profiling more useful when combined with info about time
    • General
      • British version of profiling
      • comes from: investigative psychology and geographic profiling
        • based on data and statistical analysing
          • Eg: ‘70% likely that he has a low paying job’, ‘ 20% chance he is married’
      • Canter: criminal consistency hypothesis: criminals act in a consistent manner, interpersonal consistency - regarding relationships. Eg. person killing prostitutes in a frenzy - probably has bad relationships with women, often uses prostitutes etc. Spatial (geographical) consistency - offences happen within a known area
    • Investigative psychology
      • 5 factor analysis
        • Interpersonal coherence
          • Assumption that behaviour is consistent across situations - everyday behaviour is similar to the way a crime is committed (aggressive person = aggressive crime)
        • Criminal characteristics
          • Placing criminals into categories
        • Time + location
          • Similar to time and location factors in top-down approach
          • Positioning and timing of crime gives clues as to where criminal may live or work
        • Criminal career
          • Degree of criminal experience offender have
          • How their pattern of crime might progress
        • Forensic awareness
          • Offenders that show awareness to how much evidence they leave (eg. cleaning crime scene - probably have committed crime before and been through criminal justice system)
    • Successes and failure
      • John Duffy 'The Railway Murderer'
      • police focused on Colin Stagg for Rachel Nickell's murder
        • didn't make links between murders and rapes
        • ruled out real killer as he was taller than the profile said he should be
      • M25 ******
    • Evaluation
      • has potential to be scientific and objective
        • doesn't rely on hunches or speculation of motives
      • only as good as data / formula used (coming from CAUGHT criminals)
      • helpful to narrow down lists of suspects or areas (eg. for DNA testing)
      • may mislead if criminal doesn't fit pattern
      • felt to be more useful than it actually is


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