Forensic Psychology

  • Created by: freyash
  • Created on: 29-12-18 15:15

Defining crime

  • Cultural issues - Crimes are different in other cutures/countries, i.e. In the UK bigamy is a crime (more than one wife)
  • Historical issues - crimes change over time, homosexulaity was illegal until 1967 in the UK, and still is in some countries.

Ways of measuring crime

  •  Official statistics - government records of total number of crimes reported to police and recorded in official figures. These are published by the Home Office annually, allowing government develop crime prevention strategies and policing initiatives.
  • Victim surveys - records peoples experience of crime over a specific period, the Crime Survey for England and Wales, asks individuals to document crimes they have been a victim of in the past year. 50000  households are randomly selected to take part, enabling the Office For National Statistics to prduce crime figures based of victim surveys. Published annually.
  • Offender survey - individuals volunteer details of the number/types f crimes they have committed.Tend to target groups of likely offenders based on risk factors i.e.previous conviction, age, social background.

Top-down approach

  • Offender profiling - investigation employed by poice when solving crimes, aim is to narrow the field of enquiry and list likely suspects.Professional profilers are often used to help police especially in high profile cases, methods vary, but usally involves careful scrutiny of the crime sceneand anaylsis of evidence in order to generate a hypotheses aout the probable characteristics of the offender.
  • American approach - created by FBI in 1970s, more specifically, the FBIs Behavioural Science Unit used data gathered from in-depth interviews with 36 sexually motivated serial killer e.g. Ted Bundy/Charles Manson. AKA The typology approach, offender profilers who use this method will match what is known about crimes and offender to pre-exiting template the FBI have developed. Mderers/repists are classified into 1 of 2 categories, organsied or disorganised on the basis of evidence.
  • Organised/Disorganised type offender
    • Organised offenders - planning crimes ahead of time, victim is deliberately targeted (often a type), maintain a high degree of control, little evidence at the crime scene, above-average intelligence, in a skilled proffesional occupation, socially and sexually competent, and are usually married and even have children.
    • Disorganised offenders - littke evidence of planning, suggests offence was spontatneous, spur of the moment act. Crime scene tends to be reflects impulsive nature of attack, little control, lower IQ than average, in unskilled work or unemployed, and often history of sexual dysfunction/failed relationships. Tend to live alone ad often relatively close to where the offence took place.
  • Constructing an FBI profile - Four main stages of construction of FBI profile:
    • Data assimilation - the profiler reviews the evidence
    • Crime Scene classification - organised or disorganised
    • Crie reconstruction - hypostheses in terms of sequence of events, behaviour of the victim, etc.
    • Profile generation - hypotheses related to the likely offender e.g. of demographic background, physical characteristics, behaviour, etc.

The Bottom-up approach

  • UK approach, aim is to generate a picture of the offender i.e. charcteristics, routine behaviour, socal background. Through systematice analysis of evidenxe at


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