Criminal Profiling is a process used to try and piece together the psychological, behavioral, and social composite of an unknown criminal.
The process involves law enforcement officers often assisted by criminal psychologists, and has 3 aims:
1. To provide a psychological, behavioral, and social composite of an unknown criminal.
2. To give police a "psychological evaluation of belongings found in the possession of the offender" (Holmes & Holmes, 2008).
3. To outline strategies and suggestions how best to interview the offender once caught.
The first form of Criminal Investigative Analysis (of which Criminal Profiling is a part) emerged in the 19th century and was pioneered by the British Scotland Yard.
The legendary investigative feats of Sherlock Holmes then strengthened the myth that clever criminal investigators are born with the skill and did not acquire it. However, criminal psychologist Brent Turvey in his authoritative book "Criminal Profiling" was adamant that the ability to Profile Criminals was a not an intuitive gift, but a systematic process that could be taught to law enforcement officers.
Modern day Criminal Investigative Analysis was developed primarily by the FBI in the middle of the 20th century involving into a new, sophisticated science (although some still argue it is more an art than a science).
The FBI model (taught by the International Criminal Investigative Fellowship) tends to be practised primarily by police officers, while the British Centre Of Investigative Psychology in Liverpool is based more on the insights of academic psychology (ref: Dr Chris Devery, 2009).
This new crime-busting science has caught the public's imagination and spawned a string of popular (although not always accurate) TV shows, books and movies like CSI, Profiler, and Silence of the Lambs.
CSI the TV Show:
Anatomy of a Real Investigation by the Calgary Police.
Published July 18, 2012
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