Psychology- Unit 3- Forensic psychology

What is crime?
Defined as an act punishable by law, as being forbidden by statute or injurious to public welfare.
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Whats the issue with that definition?
It states that crimes are everything agianst public welfare, but an orthodox muslim cannot drink alcohol, they believe it goes agianst public welfare, but its not a crime by UK law? Also death is agianst welfare, but its not always illegal to kill
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Therefore what is crime?
a social construction- because the meaning of crime will vary dependent upon who you ask and where you go (subjective)
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3 ways of measuring crime?
Official statistics, British crime survey, self-report studies.
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What are official statistics?
The number of crimes recorded by the police using a standardized method.
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Eg: In 1993 5,000 crimes (in thousands were recorded)
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Under-represents figures (hides dark figure) , reasons for not reporting/recording, massaging stats, also diffrent rules/priorities for police stations (less accurate- not standardized)
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What is the British crime survey?
A survey using a structured interview and a large sample size (50,000 households) where they people whether they have been victims of crimes themselves in the last year.
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Relies on accurate recall of past events which happened a long time ago, does not include victim less crime, seen as more valid then offical as gets greater idea of dark figure (as dont always report to police).
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What are self-report studies?
Studies that focus upon groups of likely offenders eg: young adults. Volunteers record whether they have commited any of the listed offences. These are then compared agianst offical numbers of convictions to measure what types of offenders are most
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likely to be convicted. An example is the OCJS survey of antisocial behaviour and drug use.
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anwers may be exaggerated or they may lie (less valid), biased selection of people
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What is the dark figure of crime?
The amount of crime unreported and undiscovered by the Police/relevant authorities.
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why might crime not be reported?
Fear, too trivial, too much effort, fear a revenge attack, lack confidence in the police.
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what are the 4 stages of the FBI approach to offender profiling?
1) Data assimilation 2) crime scene classification 3) crime reconstruction 4) profile generation
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explain what steps 1 and 2 mean?
Police reports, crime scenes and pathology reports are examined, looking at whats happened at the crime. Based off this evidence, the crime scene can be classed as organised or disorganised.
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Where does the classification system come from?
Interviews with other offenders (36 serial criminals)
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What does this mean?
an organised crime scene suggests an organised offender. By looking at what their crime scene is like, we can therefore identify characteristics of the offender.
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a organised crime scene will show careful planning and control and victim targeted stranger. While disorganized will have none/little planning, weapon usually will have been found from that scene (eg: rock) and victim randomly selected.
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3 and 4?
The crime is reconstructed in order to show these characteristics and then hypothesis is formed from it.
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What can we say about the FBI approach then?
Its a top-down system because they start with infomation gained from other sources (interviews with offenders) and then fit the crime into pre-existing templates based off its details.
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Problems with the approach?
The classification groups are based off a small sample so therefore less representative. Not all offenders will fit into one of the types, we will see them mix over. Its only relevent for a small number of crimes (eg: cant relate to fraud),
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"One glove fits all" rather looking at the individualness of each case. Also lacks scientific evidence.
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What does the investigative approach involve?
Uses statistical techniques to identify how likely it is that some characteristics will co-exist with others at the crime scene eg: series of rapes, if he always apologies, chances are he will do so at all rapes. Also looks at Looks at IC
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interpersonal coherence - behaviours and characteristics he demonstrates at his crime scene will also be present in his real life.
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How do they assess the crime scene?
IC, Look for significance of the time and place, their criminal career, their forensics awareness and criminal characteristics (the apologizing thing we said before)
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What can we say about this method?
Its a bottom up method as they only use the evidence from the crime scene to create a profile. Creates individual profiles rather then pre-determined ones.
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Case study?
Railway ******- 24 sexual attacks and 3 murders near railways in north london. The predictions Canter made were very close (eg: lived near to where they happened, wife/gf and no kids - he lived near, had ex wife and no kids).
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Often argued that there is a lack of consistancy between the psychologists as unlike the USA model, the groupings are not pre-determined, so they often had their own individual methods. also Copson found it only succeeds in catching the crim in 3%.
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What is geographic offender profiling?
Focusing on the location of a crime scene to assess and predict the most likely place the offender may live, work or choose to socialize.
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analyse the crime scene, meet with the key police personal, analyse local crime stats and demographics, study the transport maps.
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Whats the program called?
Crimal geographic targeting (CGT). Spatial data are analysedd to produce a 3 dimensional model known as a jeopardy surface.
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what is a jeopardy surface?
It is a 3-d model which contains colour and height probability codes, getting superimposed onto a map where the crimes took place.
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What are general strengths of offender profiling?
the 1st 2 methods are useful for helping to predict which interview tequnique would be the most useful (as gives us an idea of who they are), all methods narrow down the range of suspects saving time and resources.
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Card 2


Whats the issue with that definition?


It states that crimes are everything agianst public welfare, but an orthodox muslim cannot drink alcohol, they believe it goes agianst public welfare, but its not a crime by UK law? Also death is agianst welfare, but its not always illegal to kill

Card 3


Therefore what is crime?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


3 ways of measuring crime?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What are official statistics?


Preview of the front of card 5
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