FORENSICS - Top down approach

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  • Top down approach
    • General
      • American method based on FBI research ('78) - based on sexual based serial killers
        • in depth interviews with convicted murderers
        • murders classified as 'organised' or 'disorganised' (Rossiter - '88)
      • what happened -> why (motive) -> who
    • Organised criminals
      • features:
        • planned crimes
        • self-control (wait for victim)
        • cover tracks (cear up, mve body etc.)
        • victim = stranger (stalked / selected but doens't know them)
      • personalities:
        • intelligent
        • skilled occupation
        • socially / sexually competent
        • angry / depressed
    • Disorganised criminals
      • features:
        • unplanned crime (spur of the moment, taking advantage of situation)
        • haphazard methos
        • leaves clues
        • possible they know / have relationship to victim
      • personalities:
        • socially inadequate
        • unskilled
        • first/last born child
        • confused / frightened
    • Evaluation (A03)
      • only applicable to (sexually motivated) murders
      • Based on interviews with 36 convicted sexually motivated murderers
        • Specific crimes - difficult to generalise different crimes (robberies etc), limiting the use as a procedure
        • They got caught - cleverer murderers out there that didn’t get caught
        • They may lie - make themselves look scarier
        • Just males - no females interviewed
      • Arthur Shawcross case - Profile was accurate - profiler also gave advice on how to catch him - said he would go back to bodies
      • Arguably relies on hunches made by experiences investigators - lacks scientific rigour
      • Jackson and Bekerian (1997) - suggest smart offenders can read about how profiles are constructed and deliberately mislead profilers using misleading clues
        • raises question about whether info about the techniques used by the police should be generally available
      • police perceive it to be useful - Copson (1995) - questioned 184 police officers, 82% said the technique was operationally useful, 90% said they would use it again
        • but judgement may be flawed - Alison (2003) - over 50% of the officers rated a fake profile they were given as generally accurate or very accurate..
    • How approach is carried out by investigators
      • 1. PROFILING INPUTS
        • description of crime scene (photograph & sketches)
        • background about victim
        • details of crime itself (weapon, cause of death, autopsy report)
        • all info should be included (even trivial)
        • no possible suspects should not be considered
      • 2. DECISION PROCESS MODELS
        • make decisions about data and organises it into meaningful data
        • considered:
          • murder type: mass / spree / serial
          • time factors: crime take long / short time, day / night?
          • location factors: crime scene = same / diff than murder scene
      • 3. CRIME ASSESSMENT
        • classified as organised / disorganised
        • presumes there is a correspondence between offences and offenders
      • 4. CRIMINAL PROFILE
        • profile of offender
        • description = help investigators catch the offender
          • anticipate how they will react during interview and investigation
      • 5. CRIME ASSESSMENT (2)
        • written report to investigators and persons matching profile evaluated
        • if new evidence / no suspects -> back to (2)
      • 6. APPREHENSION
        • if suspect apprehended, entire profiling generating process reviewed to check that at each stage the consluions were valid
        • consider how process revised for future

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