Criminal profiling is an investigative and behavioral tool that is aimed at assisting those in the investigative field in profiling criminal offenders who are in most cases unknown. It can also be referred to as offender profiling, criminological profiling, criminal investigative analysis, criminal personality profiling and behavioral profiling. According to Holmes and Holmes, criminal profiling has three main goal s namely: providing the law enforcement with the psychological and social assessments of the criminal. It also aims to providing the law enforcers with a psychological assessment of belongings found in the possession of the criminal. The final and ultimate goal is giving suggestions and plans for the process of interviewing the offenders (Turvey).
It is usually employed in in crimes such as ritualistic crime, rape, lust and paedophilia, satanic and mutilation murder and many other crimes. It exists in two forms: the Top-down' approach which is normally used in the United States of America and the Bottom-up' approach used in the United Kingdom. The Top-down' approach basically focuses at the evidence and data in the similar previous cases and the manner of how they have been solved, criminal psychological theories and any other theories that might be available which links to the personalities of the offender. The Bottom-up' theory takes the inverse direction to arrive at the same conclusion that is it takes the data and the evidence and expounds on it until a viable conclusion is arrived at.
In the light of contemporary study of criminals terms offender profiling as the 3rd wave of the science of investigating since it studies the psyche of the offenders. This kind of profiling lies largely on the justifications based on commonsense. Basically it is a method of singling out criminals by analyzing the nature of their crimes and the manner in which they committed the same. It also entails determining several factors of the offender’s makeup before, during and after committing the crime. The extracted information is coupled with other significant information and the physical evidence obtained. This information is then analyzed against the characteristics of known types of personalities and the abnormalities associated with the mind so as to come up with an appropriate and viable criminal’s description. This kind of investigation tool is therefore a type of criminal identification which aims at establishing an offender’s emotional, mental, and personality characteristics as deduced from the crime scene.
Basically the approach of criminal is a viable idea since it aims at dealing with criminal psychology and coupling this with the already known human personalities to arrive at a establishing whether the suspect is the true criminal. In the whole world it is known that the school of Investigative Psychology gives room for actual incorporation of statistical analysis and the psychological science to investigate criminal. The viability of the psychological approach is that it does not take into account the approach used by the FBI which entails using the case studies. It also refutes the use of experience and opinion calls employed in the FBI investigative approach. Form the statistical assessment of behaviors of the criminal, there is always a possibility of deducing very accurate predictions of the behaviors of the criminals.
Scientifically this approach appears to be more valid and should be employed in future works of offender profiling. Having been used in the past to identify murder criminals in the united states, this kind of profiling is a good thing but the results of the same should always be done in large scale and should not always be pegged on some small scale investigations that were done before. Therefore, basing on the argument above criminal profiling is the best and the reliable investigative method that do exists.
Turvey, Brent E. Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis. London: Academic Press, 1999.