Top Down Approach


what is offender profiling?

An investigative tool employed by the police when solving crimes, to narrow down the list of likley suspects.

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Where did the Top Down approach originate from?

US- FBI conducted interviews with 36 sexually motivated murderers (inclueding Ted Bundy), they found that they could be categoried into organised/ disorganised murders.

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What are the characteristic of an organised offend

evidence of planning, victim is deliberately targetted, usually has a 'type', above average IQ, little evidence left behind, usually married, may even have children

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What are the characteristic of a disorganised offe

little evidence of planning, spontaneous, body is still at the crime scene, lower than average IQ, history of failed relationships, lives alone

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What are the four stages in constructing an FBI pr

1) data assimilation- review evidence

2) crime scene classification- organised/ disorganised

3)crime reconstruction- sequence of events

4) profile generation- hypotheses of likley offender, physical characteristics

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One strength of Top Down approach?

research support- Canter et al

analysis of 100 US murders, used smallest space analysis to asses the co-occurence of 39 aspects of serial killings, eg torture

subset of features which matched the typology for organised offenders

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Why might it be difficult to classify either organ

may be difficult to classify killers as only one type

they might have contrasting characteristics eg, high IQ but spontaneous muder leaving the body at the scene. 

suggests there may be more of a continuum

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How does the top down approach have wider applicat

Can be adapted to other crimes eg burglary.

Meketa - top down approach led to an 85% rise in solved cases in 3 US states

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What are the two new categories added to the appro

Interpersonal- offender knows the victim, steals something of significance

Oppertunistic- young inexperienced offenders

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How might the Top Down approach have flawed eviden

Canter argued the sample was poor, was not random and sample was too small

No set standard of questions, each interview was different

Does not have a scientific basis 

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