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Slide 1

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Top down approach
(Qualitative approach)
· Used in the USA
· Hazelwood and Douglas' (1980) published account of the `Lust murderer' further
furthered the theory of the organised and disorganised offender.
· FBI conducted 36 interviews with sexually-oriented murderers and tried to classify
them as organised or disorganised to develop this approach.
· The crime scene is examined and then classified as:
- Organised: if planning and control is reflected in the crime scene. The offender is likely
to be socially competent, of high/average IQ and is more likely to be in employment
than the disorganised offender.
- Disorganised: if the crime appears to be committed out of passion (the murder weapon
may be left along with finger prints, blood or semen at the crime scene). The offender is
likely to be of low IQ, socially incompetent and unlikely to be unemployed.
· The FBI generate an offender profile by:
1) Analysing the crime scene
2) Classifying the crime scene (e.g. organised/disorganised)
3) Reconstructing the crime to generate hypotheses about the behaviours involved
4) Profile then generated using this information…read more

Slide 2

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Canter 2004
· Aim: Test _______ of organised/disorganised typologies
· Content analysis ­ ___ cases from USA (3rd crime of each serial killer)
· Cases assessed to see if features hypothesised to belong to each typology
would be consistently and distinctively different
· Crime Classification Manual used to classify crimes
· Twice as many disorganised actions identified (more common or easier to
· 2 behaviours co-occurred significantly in organised typologies 1.Body
concealed(__%) 2.Sexual activity(__%)
· Statistical analysis failed to separate variables for organised + disorganised
· No distinction between 2 types of murder (all have organised aspect)
· Better to look at individual personality differences of offenders…read more

Slide 3

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Top-Down Approach Canter (2004)
Qualitative data Offenders categorised Sample from US only- Only applicable to serial
used from analysis as only organised or crimes may be killers from US, results
of crime scene which disorganised committed differently in can not be extrapolated
is rich and Reductionist other countries Low external validity
descriptive Ethnocentric Provides insight into
Social desirability bias
High validity Can be said to be high how to best identify
or demand
Subjective as procedure achieves criminal offenders
characteristics in
interpretation the aim of testing Useful
interviews with
required of evidence reliability of typologies Based on interview data
murderers by FBI
Low reliability High internal validity with offenders- could be
Low validity
Standardised Standardised social desirability in
classification of procedure and high answers and there may
offenders as repeatability be psychological
organised or High reliability problems with the
disorganised But organised/ offenders such as
High reliability disorganised multiple personalities-
typologies found to Low validity
characteristics Real murder cases studied
not be consistent
offenders are likely so data is true to life as it
Low reliability
to have and profiles comes directly from actual
are quick to build cases
Useful High ecological validity…read more

Slide 4

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Bottom-up approach
(Geographical Profiling/ Quantitative
· Used in the UK
· Uses location of crime scene in profiling as the location is seen to be linked to the
· Aims to identify patterns of behaviour through looking at similarities between
· Makes no assumptions about the characteristics of the offender but assumes that
the offender is likely to offend in an area well-known to them
· Statistical and Correlational analysis used to generate the profile.
· Canters 5 factor theory- 5 aspects of important interaction between the Victim and
1) Time and place
2) Interpersonal coherence of behaviour and similarity between victims
3) Forensic evidence
4) Criminal Career
5) Criminal characteristics
· Canter suggests that the offender see the victim as either an object (a piece of meat
to which they can do anything to- no emotions towards the victim), a vehicle (upon
whom the offender expresses anger and frustration) or a person (who is known to
the offender).…read more

Slide 5

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Canter and Heritage (1990)
· Aim: To identify a pattern of · Findings: 5 variables were found
behaviour from similarities between central to all 66 cases: vaginal
offences intercourse, victim's clothing
· Method: Content analysis of 66 disturbed, surprise attack, no
sexual offences by 27 offenders response to the victim and
from various police forces to identify impersonal language. This suggests a
33 offence variables that link to a pattern of behaviour where the
potential behaviour characteristic. attack is sudden and impersonal and
Responses of "yes" or "no" could be the victim's response is irrelevant to
given to the variables the offender.
· Procedure: Smallest Space Analysis · Conclusions: Usefulness of the
method is that all 5 aspects shown to
contribute to all sexual offences but
in different individuals. This leads to
an understanding of how the
behaviours of an offender changes
over a series of offences and if 2 or
more crimes have been committed by
the same offender.…read more

Slide 6

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Bottom-Up Approach Canter and Heritage (1990)
Relies on recording Bottom-up approach is Data collected Quantitative data collected
of crimes by police based on psychological purely correlational- High reliability
for true theory and objective No cause and effect But do not know the causes
representation of statistical analysis is used can be established of the offender's behaviour
crime for statistical High validity and Low validity and which may help in
analysis supports PAS doesn't support PAS identifying the offender
Low reliability and Quantitative data used Low validity
Enables police to
validity High reliability Based on interview data
Wide range of identify if a person is
But do not know the with offenders- could be
factors considered committing more
causes of the offender's social desirability in
Holistic than one offence and
behaviour which may answers and there may
However results in identifies patterns in
help in identifying the be psychological
profile taking criminal behaviour
offender problems with the
longer to generate Useful
Low validity offenders such as
Not useful (if time Relies on patterns of Wide range of factors
multiple personalities-
is important) behaviour across considered
Low validity
Can be used for a perpetrators to build Holistic
Real sexual offences
wide range of crime profile and so is limited Small sample studied
types in finding first time Unreliable High ecological validity
Useful offenders.
Low external validity
and usefulness…read more

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