PY4 WJEC offender profiling and juries notes

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Approaches to profiling
Profiling helps the police to identify the perpetrators of serious crime.
The US (top down) approach
The FBI researched background, personality,
behaviours, crimes and motives of 36 serial killers.
Crime scene analysis indicates type of offender and
the classification indicates possible characteristics.
Stages in US profiling: data assimilation (e.g. from the
scene), crime scene classification (e.g. organised or
disorganised), crime reconstruction (e.g. hypothesis
about events), profile generation (e.g. offender's age, habits etc.)
The apprehension of Arthur Shawcross was a successful example.
Evaluation of US (top down) approach AO2
The US approach doesn't solve crimes and it can only be used with multiple
offences where there is significant evidence (e.g. serial killer, rape, arson).
Douglas found that profiling rarely led directly to an arrest but often focused the
The FBI interviews with murderers were not standardised and used a small
opportunity sample.
The organised/disorganised typology may not be valid. Canter et al analysed
100 murderers but found no such distinction.
Holmes and Holmes extended the classification, giving 5 types, from
disorganised `visionary killers' to organised `power/control killers'. Canter found
these were typical of most murders, so were not distinctive `types'.
The British (bottom up) approach
The UK approach assumes interpersonal
coherence e.g. in social competence, use of
violence or the victim group (e.g. Bundy killed
Information comes from: data analysis (e.g. link crimes with rare behaviours) and
forensic awareness (e.g. offenders' precautions to avoid detection).
Methods use: facet theory (explore all `sides' of crime scene evidence) and
smallest space analysis, SSA (look for infrequent combinations).
The apprehension of the `railway rapist' was a successful example.
A bottomup process because builds profile from crime scene information

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Evaluation of the British (bottom up) approach AO2
UK profiling methods, unlike US methods, are based on statistical data
rather than informal intuition. House used SSA to show that different types of
rape could be identified by characteristics from the crime and Santtila et al
found consistent patterns in firesetters.
Although Britton reported that CID chiefs felt profiles were not helpful, Copson
found that 80% of police officers felt they contributed to investigations even if
they rarely identified suspects.…read more

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Decision making of juries
Research has shown that the verdict of juries if often influenced by the physical
attractiveness of the defendant and even their race, accent and gender. IT can
also be influenced by majority/minority influence.
Physical attractiveness
Attractive people are less likely to be considered guilty of a
crime, often judged to be more intelligent, confident, happy
and truthful.…read more

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received longer sentences than white defendants for the same crime (Stewart).
OJ Simpson (real life case) divided America ­ white Americans saw obvious guilt
because of physical evidence, black Americans saw police misconduct.
Evaluation AO2
Gordon et al found that black burglars were given longer sentences than white
but the reverse was true for fraud.
Johnson et al found that white participants made more situational attributions
and suggested lesser punishments for white than black defendants.…read more

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Majority group members are more forthright and seem more logical and
intelligent therefore people are likely to follow their decisions.…read more


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