Approaches to Profiling

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P1 - Intro

Profiling attempts to help Police to identify perpetrators of serious crimes

Uses several techniques to focus investigration

US use the top-down approach

UK use the bottom-up approach

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P1 - Describe top-down

FBI use top-down approach to develop classification system of crimes

Based on research into criminals including interviews with 36 convicted murderers

Each "type" of criminal said to display different characteristics

Organised - intelligent, socially competent, well planned

Disorganised - low intelligence, socially incompetent, evidenec left at crime scene

Analysis of crime scene indicates type of murder

Stages of profiling - data assimilation, crime scene classification, crime reconstruction and profile generation

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P2 - Evaluate top-down

Despite rarely leading to identifying criminal, Douglas (1981) - helps focus investigation in 77% of cases

Allows predictions to be made about timings of offences - investigators can closely target and prevent future cases - FBI predicted Arthur Shawcross would return to scene of murders - led to his arrest

Although only for most serious crimes, so horrific that catching offender is paramound - any method viable

Britton (1992) - material often isn't collected in strict lab conditions - incomplete, ambiguous and unreliable results

Validity of organised/disorganised typology questionned - Canter at al (2004) - found no distinctive relationship - too simplistic to categorise in this way 

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P3 - Describe bottom-up

British bottom-up approach assumes individual is consistent in personality

Interpersonal coherance suggests evidence from crime scene will reflect criminals everyday behaviour

Approach uses data anlysis and statistical tests to link crime scenes to offenders - especially useful in cases of serial murder and ****

Builds picture based on crime scene to focus investigation

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P4 - Evaluate bottom-up

Technique based on public evidence - research to support it - House (1977) used SSA to show how types of crimes can be identified by characteristics

Santtila et al (2005) concluded that there are consistent behaviour patterns in offenders

Assumes offenders are predictable - Alison (2002) used data from 100 UK **** cases assuming people of similar demographic levels would be alike in crime - found no significant correlation

Inaccurate to compare crime scene behaviour to that of everyday

Proven to be inaccurate - Campbell (1976) - psychologists no better equipped than college students at solving murder mystery when given the same material - questionned if approach is worthwhile

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P5 - Describe geographical

Geographical profiling analyses locations to indicate where offender may live, work, socialise, travel, etc

Uses cognitive maps of common routes and criminal geographic targeting to attempt to establish areas crimes happen

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P6 - Evaluate geographic

Useful for wide range of crimes unlike typology which can only be used for most serious such as murder, **** and arson

Informs police of where crimes are happening - area targeted & deploy resources

Snook et al (2005) - 65% commit 10km from home - help target investigations

Effectiveness limited by under reporting of crime - data often incomplete and so won't be accurate

Profiling can lead to self-fulfilling prophecy - if person fits profile it doesn't always mean that theycommited crime - Police need to be careful when declaring someone as guilty

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