Forensic Psychology

All my condensed notes from the text book 

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Forensic psychology
What is crime?
Oxford definition of crime - `an act punishable by law, as being forbidden by statutes
and injurious to public welfare... An evil or injurious act; an offence, sin; esp. Of grave
Normative crime- On the other hand crime may be act that causes offence to moral
norms or values held by society such as religious beliefs
Social scientist definition- the meaning of crime is a social construction.
Measuring crime
Every year the Home Office publish the latest crime stats and trends or crime for
England and Wales.
They are based on two sources of data:
The crime Survey (BSC)
Official statistics recorded by the police.
Official statistics
Official statistics for 2005-2006 suggest that crime has remained stable over the last
few years, although there has been an increase in violent crime. E.g. gun crime.
The government claim that despite the peak in 1995, the incidence of crime has fallen
by 44% in the past 10 years.
Rose (2006)- analysed Home figures and found that the government failed to report
the significant drop in conviction rates.
The media also tend to not publish the increasing number of people in prison.
The Crime and Society Foundation published a report claiming that official stats do no
show a valid picture of crime
The only purpose of Official stats is to provide the government with a false set of
figures, whereby they can claim that they have reduced crime rates
The Statistic Commission (2006) suggested that the public doubts the reliability of
crime so the government should stop publishing these stats to win back public
Police Statistic

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Recorded as a crime
Designated a crime by police
Police attention
Designated a crime by the public
Noticed by the public
Possible crime
British crime survey
The British Crime Survey (BCS) is an example of a victim survey
Measures crime by asking 50,000 people about the incident of crime they have
experienced in the past year and if they reported it the police.
The findings by the BSC peaked in 1995 with 19 million.…read more

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This is decreasing and became stable in 2006.
Although the number of crimes reported rose in this period, mainly due to the
changes to the rules of how the government measure crime.
The BCS gives a more accurate picture of crime, because it takes into account those
not recorded by the police.
The amount of crime unreported and undiscovered crime is known as the dark
figure of crime.…read more

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Biased selection of interviewees- Research may not be able to interview
more dangerous offenders. Or business executives who are rich/powerful
who corporate crime may be excluded from the interview.
Key points
A crime is the breach of a rule or law for which punishment is given
Crime may be classified according to their legal definition or their
normative definition
Official stats are published annually by the Home Office and show the
crime rate.…read more

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The victim will usually be randomly attacked and the attack will be quick and
FBI profiling
Stage 2. Crime scene classification
Organised or disorganised
Stage 1.Data assimilation
e.g. police reports.…read more

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Stage 4 Profile generation
Present hypotheses:
Physical characteristics
Behaviour habits
Stage 3.…read more

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Owing to its emphasis of on intuitions, the FBI has been criticised for lacking
scientific evidence and evaluation
It is therefore regarded more of an art than a science
Alison and Barrett- state that the approach is over-reliant on dated theories of
personality. And contains `many erroneous lay beliefs about the consistency of
human behaviour and the ability to classify individuals into discrete types.…read more

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As the victims' bodies had been burnt there was little forensic evidence.
However, the method of attack seemed to be linked between rapes and murders.
The police to assist in the investigation and made an offender profile.
He suggested:
Lived near the sexual attacks that took place in 1983
Possibly arrested
With a wife or girlfriend
No children
Mid to late 20s
Right handed
Approximately 5'9"
Skilled or semi skilled work
Weekend work
Previous criminal record, engaged in sexual activity prior to the attack.…read more

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Interpersonal coherence- The actions displayed by the offender will be the
norm to him/her. E.g. the choice of victim will be significant
Significance of time and place- The offender needs to feel in control, so
will choose a specific location
Criminal characteristics- Analysis of crimes and the offenders will assist in
classifying categories and identifying patterns of behaviour
Criminal career- This is influential in the number of repeated crimes and
offender commits. These crimes may increase as the offender's confidence
grows.…read more

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Analysis of the crime scene
Meeting with the investigators and key police personnel
Analysis of the demographic 4 data and local crime stats.…read more


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