Criminal Minds... how are they different from the majority of law abiding citizens?
What makes them break the law?
What makes some of them capable of carrying out the most horrendous crimes against humanity?
And what can we do to protect ourselves from them?
Criminal Psychology (sometimes called Forensic Psychology) is the study of criminal minds... their thought processes, intentions, motives and likely reactions.
Psychological knowledge can be helpful in all aspects of the criminal justice system... from the Criminal Investigation, through the Court System, and finally to the Correctional and Psychiatric Facilities.
For example, Criminal Psychology can be used to try and determine how likely a criminal is to re-offend after release. In one group of young offenders in the U.K. (brought up in an environment of a dysfunctional family, poverty, domestic or street violence, and lack of opportunity) the risk of re-offending was over 80% on release from custody.
Criminal Profiling (or Offender Profiling) is carried out by police and psychologists to try and identify certain characteristics of an unknown offender using the facts and details gathered from the crime scene and the victim.
The hope is that an accurate profile can be constructed that will reveal the offender's personality, behavioral patterns, psycho-pathologies, MO (modus operandi or method of operation), demographics (like age, race, occupation, travelling patterns, etc)... anything at all to help identify the perpetrator of a crime.
Since T.V. shows like CSI (Crime Scene Investigation), Profiler, and movies like Silence of the Lambs have exploded onto the scene the viewing public have become fascinated with criminal minds and Criminal Profiling.
CSI the TV Show:
Unfortunately, in real life Criminal Profiling doesn't always pan out as easily or reliably as it does on the TV screen.
Are some people with criminal minds born just plain bad... born from "a bad seed"?
Are the worst of them Natural Born Killers?
Notorious serial killer Carl Panzram wrote about himself "When I was very young at 5 or 6 years I was a thief and a lier and a mean despisable one at that... The older I got the meaner I got".
While Ted Bundy (convicted of 37 homicides but estimated to have killed anywhere from 50 to 100 people) confided "I just liked to kill. I wanted to kill".
Or are there other reasons why some criminal minds turn out to be "the worst of the worst".
It's said "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned".
That was certainly true of Ruth Ellis, the last woman in the United Kingdom to be hanged (in 1955) for the murder of her lover. In a final letter to the victim's parents she wrote "I have always loved your son, and I shall die still loving him".
But the reality is that throughout history it has been women who have more often been the victims of Crimes of Passion.
The Internet Revolution, Globalization, and the Global Financial Crisis created the perfect storm... Old Business models are being destroyed and jobs are disappearing offshore at an astonishing rate. Analysts warn that "China and India are poised to out-think us and out-compete us by their sheer numbers" and that "there is no job security now".
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Who Ate My Lunch?