| 30 Comments | 0 TrackBacks

Review the following 3 websites:
Based on your reading of Chapter 5, what really IS profiling? What are the myths about profiling? How accurate is the profiling information in the above sources?

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:


Profiling has been a controversial subject for over half a century. While reading the chapter, I learned that many assumptions are made when conducting an investigation. Profiling was developed in the 1960's, and became a key factor in detecting the type of criminals in crimes.

Profiling is most commonly used for serial killers. A list of criteria has been developed and is dissected into two main concepts: Intelligence, or lack there of.
Intelligence tends to cohere with organized crime, (also referred to as organized killers) as a deep thought process goes into planning the attack, and even the kind of victim that the killer chooses. Serial killers with less intelligence have showed a trend of acting randomly, (disorganized killers) and spontaneously, leaving no pattern to their victims, or the way that they are killed.

3 examples of profiling are given in the chapter. The stories about the three serial killers, Jack the Ripper, the Olympic Bomber, and the mad Bomber all had cases of strong criminal profiling involved. The accuracy of these profiles, however, is in question.

In the case of Jack the Ripper, the profile for him was generic. A strong man, an older man, and a man with an overcoat were all characteristics of this case. These details however prove to be universal for the area the crime was committed in. Many men could be strong, older, and wearing an overcoat, but that did not mean that they were a serial killer. This case focused on demographic profiling, and created tunnel vision for both the law enforcement, and the public.

Jack the Ripper was not the only flawed investigation when it came to profiling. In the case of the Olympic Bomber, the description of the bomber was a single, white, middle-class male with an intense interest in police work and law enforcement. As most could conclude, these characteristics are also common and proved to be cumbersome when leading the investigation.

Classification of criminals is a main theme of profiling, and in 1992, a new classification of killers was developed. Four different types of killers were addressed, most which were fairly accurate. Not all serial killers, however, can be classified into these categories, which leaves another loose string in the profiling concept.

The question behind profiling is not if it works, but is it an effective tool for the advancement of the investigation? After much research, psychologists found out that there were 3 common myths behind profiling of serial killers.

1. All Psychopaths are Violent.
The world all means every single psychopath is violent. This can be discredited however by different cases that have been investigated by law enforcement. One case in particular, the Virginia Tech shootings proved this theory wrong. The gunman did not display violent tendencies or have an angry or an agressive personality.

2. All psychopaths are psychotic.
Psychopaths usually maintain normal level of sanity, and very rarely display psychotic behaviors. The delusion that ALL psychopaths are psychotic can be misleading, and lead to false profiling of suspects.

3. Psychopathy is untreatable.
While it can be a difficult and complex job, psychopathy can be treated when handled appropriately. Perpetrators can also display psychopathic tendencies, but can not be classified as a psychopath.

Using definite terms such as "untreatable" and "all" can lead to profiling that is completely inaccurate. It is this definite mindset that can make investigations veer off course, by narrowing their mindset.

The profiling information in the articles was factual about what profiling was, but lacked the argument that it could be inaccurate at times.

I feel that profiling can be an effective tool, but should not be a definite way on identifying suspects with crimes. There are too many psychological things that go into analyzing a serial killer. History, biology, environment, and present day environment are just a few of the things that could lead another human being to commit such acts. I think that if profiling is used correctly, it can lead us in the right direction of accurately analyzing the crime at hand, and can provide a wonderful reference for a meticulous and precise investigation.

Psychological profiling or criminal profiling involves analyzing the crime scene and all evidence in order to predict characteristics about the criminal so that there's a better chance of finding or identifying him/her. Investigators use all sorts of evidence like the location of the crime, time it occurred, type of victim, what was done to the victim, and any signature aspects. The obvious problem is that this process may rely completely on assumptions, and assumptions are not solid pieces of evidence to convict anyone. This could and does lead to a lot of wrongful convictions. It's easy for investigators to fall into the trap of stereotypes or being biased just because of the nature of making predictions without definite evidence to prove the relationship between the two, not to mention the cognitive processes or frameworks could be entirely different from investigator to investigator.

The biggest myth is that criminal profiling is dependable. It's success usually is overestimated or is actually very ambiguous. When movies or TV shows use it, the investigators are portrayed as geniuses who magically guess aspects about the perpetrator that end up being a perfect match but in reality, this intuition is not always present or reliable. Another misunderstanding is that the crime scene cannot always be linked to a particular person or personality trait because there is scientific proof that behavior changes with environment, so the context of the situation must be taken into consideration. There's a myth that similar crimes are committed by similar people; however, this was debunked during a study in 2002 that concluded that "trying to deduce the attributes of a rapist based on his crime scene may be worse than worthless- it may cause investigators to look for the wrong type of person" (106). This is a problem called tunnel vision and it also applies to analyzing case linkage. Lastly, there is the myth that ties into the stereotypes about the actual criminals. Many people believe that criminals are always strangers who are psycho, uncontrollable, viscous, heartless, evil people who cannot be helped and who should be sentenced to death or life in prison. In actuality, the majority of criminals are not any or all of those things, and the chances of a person you know harming you is a lot greater than a stranger harming you. If victims or investigators keep this narrow frame of mind when looking for suspects, they are making the process that much more difficult and decreasing its chance of success.

The first source from is pretty consistent with the information in our textbook, just not quite as detailed. The second source from says that criminal profiling usually results in success contrary to our textbook that says there is no way to know or estimate how often profiles are useful or useless. Similar to the chapter reading, the third source from explains that profilers rely heavily on intuition and informal studies, but there are more structured ways of classifying crimes like organized or disorganized. Even though this distinction is more objective, there is still a lot of inferring involved in the process. The last source discusses how psychologists find a lot of methodological flaws in profiling while the FBI agents argue that they are "more right than wrong" and their methods are improving. Just like we talked about in class, as the psychologists and law enforcement work together, it's important to keep in mind that they both have the same goal: to catch the bad guys. Psychologists are simply trying to eliminate as many procedural errors as possible so that it's not such an iffy process governed by myths. They want to "bring more science into the art" of profiling.

terms: cogitative psychology, tunnel vision, objectivity, intuition, inferencing/cognition, personality trait, case linkage, bias, stereotypes

Based on Chapter 5, there many ambivalent views about Profiling. Two main opposing views would be whether it should be used when finding serial killers or any dangerous criminal to help solve crimes or if it tends to lead investigators astray from crimes too often. There are also two types of profiling: traditional profiling which involves, according to Chapter 5, “The process of drawing inferences about a criminal’s personality, behavior, motivation, and demographic characteristics based on crime scenes and other evidence” and geographic profiling which is sometimes referred to as criminal spatial mapping and relies on maps and mathematics to scope out a criminals’ or serial killers’ comfortable zone while trying to locate their possible position.

Although there are negative aspects about Profiling, it has allowed many signatures of crimes that lead to distinguishing characteristics of serial killers. Two main types would be organized killers and disorganized killers. Simply put, organized killers organize their crimes giving them less of an opportunity to be caught and disorganized killers do not organize their crimes giving them more of an opportunity to be caught. Some sub-types of serial killers would be visionary types (which are usually psychotic and hear visions from a higher-being, such as God), mission-oriented types (motivated by a certain desire), hedonistic types (killing to fill a certain thrill or sexual pleasure) and power-oriented (killing to gain satisfaction from taking control of a victim). Overall, the positive view of these are that they are descriptive categories that help organize criminals’ identity through profiling, yet some serial killers may not fit any of these descriptions perfectly.

Additionally, there are some myths about profiling and how assumptions of ‘psychopaths’ can be overly misleading. One myth is that all psychopaths are violent. If you reword this saying, it simply explains why this is a myth, because not all violent people are psychopaths. A second myth is that all psychopaths are psychotic. Most psychopaths are rational and do not have actual psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, and are aware that their actions and thoughts are wrong, but they do not care about the outcomes or consequences of them. A third myth is that psychopathy is untreatable. Psychopaths can be difficult to treat because they are most likely to be highly unmotivated to receive treatment, but it is a possible, challenging disorder to treat. All areas of psychology (cognitive, behavioral, social, and developmental) would probably be used when treating such an unique individual.

Overall, after reading this chapter then skimming through the few websites given, I found that the websites did give a great description of profiling that was easy and quick to read about, yet none of them really provided the negative views about profiling or the myths that are involved with it. So if someone wants to know about the basics of profiling, these websites would be very helpful, but if someone wants to know the ins and outs of profiling, reading further into it (such like chapter 5) would provide them with a little more information.

Terms: profiling, organized killers, disorganized killers, psychopath, schizophrenia, geographic profiling, visionary-typed, mission-oriented typed, hedonistic typed, power-oriented typed, psychotic, cognitive/behavioral/social/developmental psychology

Profiling is the act in which characteristics of a criminal can be assumed based on their crimes. Overtime the idea of profiling has grown and proven itself to be on a fine line of useful and not useful. I do, however, believe that profiling has leaded us to the use of categorizing crimes. The categorizing of crimes has helped develop a sense of direction without tunnel vision. The categories break down into organized and unorganized crimes, then further into the motive behind the crime. The four motives include; visionary, mission-oriented, hedonistic, and power oriented. The use of placing a crime or criminal in a category helps the investigator understand an idea of the person that committed the crime. In each aspect of investigation we have learned about they all involve the investigator thinking as the perpetrator. Although, profiling is slow to develop in many crimes it has helped conclude the crime. Profiling also lead the crime investigation to several myths.

The myths have lead for untrue characteristics of serial killers and psychopaths. First is that all psychopaths are violent. Second is all psychopaths are psychotic, and last is that psychopath is untreatable. Another myth that I sought out on my own from reading the articles and text, is that all serial killers belong in a category. The issue stated about profiling is mostly that they want to categorize the criminal to help make the arrest. Understanding that all crimes have the want to be solved, it seems some get jumped into a category and then time is wasted trying to find a particular suspect. When visiting the links in the blog, further knowledge based on individual crimes helped me to understand profiling. The first article helps understand the overall definition of profiling and how it is used. The second article gives an actual example of crimes that were linked to profiling. Jack Unterweger is a serial killer that was convicted based on his signature. The basis of the article broke down the investigation of his crimes. Unterweger could somewhat be categorized, yet not enough to be found immediately. His crimes were organized yet repetitive. This crime gave me a sense of time when investigating, if that previous investigator would not have contacted them, would there have been how many more murders? This case was very interesting. Unterwerger’s past played a large role in his motives for the crimes that he committed.

The final article is one of the famous examples of successful profiling. The “Mad Bomber” was psychologically analyzed to create a detailed profile that leads the investigation to a proper conclusion. This case seems to be rare based on the accuracy. This case also provided large amounts of evidence and background motivation to the crimes, therefore, there is conclusions that were drawn based on the plethora of information. In this case profiling was very true to its accuracy; however, I would not base every crime on this particular case. I enjoyed learning about profiling and it opened my ideas of characteristics of the general serial killer and rapist. I also was surprised of how much evidence can be analyzed to find prior information.

Key Terms: Profiling, crime, tunnel vision, organized crime, unorganized crime, visionary, mission-oriented, hedonistic, power oriented, psychopaths, serial killer, signature,

Whenever someone describes profiling the first thing that I think of is one of my favorite shows Criminal Minds. Now I know that about the only thing that actually is true from that show is that there IS a FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit and they do have their own private jet. But although much of the show is myth they still brought up a lot of the same points I saw in the reading from the book and from the links provided.
I believe profiling is truly at it's core a person who has a great understanding of psychological and sociological principles and trends. Yes it takes practice to get better at this but for the most part you just need to know a lot about people and the trends they have and how they think. You have to have read up on how people similar to your suspect behave and based on history what is likely to be their next move? Profilers don't have some sort of physic power where they can figure out exactly what some perpetrator looks like, instead they use their knowledge of people and put it together so that others can get a good picture of what the suspect may do, say or look like.
Throughout the readings I learned that there are indeed a lot of myths about profiling as you would expect when someone like the "Mad Bomber" can be profiled right down to his clothes. But some of the myths of profiling are:
-That serial killers are rare because you don't often hear of them. Just because you haven't heard about a serial killer doesn't mean that there wasn't one. Similarly just because the police didn't ask for profiling help on a case doesn't mean that that case isn't one of a serial killer.
-You can always link a serial killer to another crime because of their MO (Method of Operation). Now this is a huge one used in Criminal Minds, they are always talking about the suspect's MO and how they are going to use that to create a profile and catch the guy. This isn't as easy as they make it look in the TV Show. Criminals don't often kill in quick succession. They may wait weeks, months or years before they kill again. This is why many serial killer cases aren't found out to be serial killer cases, because many won't remember a similar MO if it happened a long time ago and therefore wouldn't make that connection.
-Signature is something that is slightly similar to MO but not exactly. And they happen to be a lot rarer than people may expect. A signature is something that only that one criminal may use and it's something used to stand out from other serial killers but incidently that also may make them a ton easier to figure out who is leaving them. For this reason many criminal (or the smart ones at least) don't leave signatures as much as one may think.
There are a lot of other myths mentioned in the book and the readings and I think that there will always be myths surrounding a science such as profiling because it is different than what people are used to in crime scenes, and that is using the evidence instead of assumptions, whereas profiling is largely based on assumptions.

If we are assuming ourselves that the book contains completely correct information on profiling then I would say that the sources above are objectively accurate. They mention some of the myths related to profiling and how case linkage isn't always accurate in police work. They mentioned that although profiling an individuals psychological state may not be as useful, the geographic profiling is catching on and is useful directly to the police. Along with this the BIA (Behavioral Investigative Advice) that was mentioned in the chapter was also described in one of the links and the link at least had a very positive outlook on BIA. BIA is something that is useful to the police that wouldn't have been thought of in earlier times due to the lack of a media. But the media is a great resource for cops and investigators to manipulate indirectly their killer in hopes of finding him or her.

Key Terms: profiling, behavioral analysis unit, serial killers, MO (Method of Operation), Signature, geographic profiling, BIA (Behavioral Investigative Advice)

Reading chapter 5 and the additional sources I have concluded what social profiling is. Social profiling as described in the book is the process of drawing inferences about a criminal’s personality, behavior, motivation, and demographic characteristics bases on crime scenes and other evidence. In my own words, social profiling is a process in which investigators attempt to form a basis of what the perpetrator may look like, habits he or she may have, personality traits, ect. The purpose of this social profile is to give police and citizens an idea of what the perpetrator may be/look like. Once the profile is set, police and citizens are expected to be on a “lookout” for suspects that fit that type of profile. After further reading, I have learned the different aspects of social profiling and a little about the process. In addition, I have also learned the complications, biases, and problems that are associated with social profiling.

As social profiling became more popular, different classification schemes, techniques, and processes were developed. Ronald Holmes developed a classification scheme that groups killers into four different categories: visionary, mission-oriented, hedonistic, and power-oriented. Learning about these different categories provided a perspective of how social profilers may form a profile based on the killer’s motives. I also learned a technique that social profilers use called geographic profiling. This is the process of estimating the general vicinity of the criminal’s home, place of work, or the potential location of the next crime. By using this technique, investigators may save victims if they can pin point a general area of where the crimes are likely to take place. Although social profiling can be helpful, there are problems and myths associated with it as well.

Myths involving social profiling include that it is reliable, similar crimes are committed by similar people, all psycho paths are violent, all psycho paths are psychotic, and psychopathy is untreatable. Social profiling is not necessarily reliable and may cause problems in investigations. One example as mentioned in our book was the Olympic bomber. A profile was created in hopes of capturing the bomber that resulted in attention to a man named Richard Jewell. His face was all over the news as if the government had caught the bomber although they had no evidence that linked Jewell to the bombing; except for his description fitting the profile. The FBI finally caught the perpetrator 3 months later however the damage had been done. A bad stigma had formulated around the innocent Richard Jewell. Another problem that social profiling causes is a tunnel vision. Tunnel vision is a biased tendency to seek out evidence that fits a profile or stereotype while ignoring contrary evidence. With this bias, police maybe focused too much on what the social profile portrays the perpetrator to be. They are therefore less focused on people who could have committed the crime but do not fit the profile.

Similar crimes are not committed by similar people. Researchers have discovered that there is no correlation between the two. This myth may cause many problems. For example, trying to deduce the attributes of a rapist based on his crime scene behavior may cause investigators to look for the wrong type of person. All psycho paths are not necessarily violent or psychotic. Psychopathy may be a risk factor for physical and sexual violence, but that does not mean every psychopath acts on violent behavior. Psychopaths are almost always rational, they are aware that their actions are seen as wrong to society but they just shrug off these concerns. Psychopathy can be treatable with time and effort however, many psycho paths are reluctant to seek treatment.

Another myth about social profiling is that crime scene characteristics fit into categories such as organized or disorganized. In reality however, most crime scene characteristics fall along a continuum with few extreme exceptions. Along with that myth, people may also believe that particular crime scene characteristics are reliably associated with particular criminal personality types. We cannot conclude from the data of a particular characteristic within a crime scene, that the perpetrator is a specific type of person. When people do conclude that the perpetrator is a specific type of person based on crime scene characteristics, a tunnel vision bias may occur.

Reading the information in the articles regarding social profiling appeared fairly accurate when compared to the book. They discuss what social profiling is, how it works, and provides examples in which social profiling was used and was successful. Although the articles’ information seems evident and accurate, they only briefly describe the negatives associated with social profiling. This can be problematic in which it may increase tunnel vision if people are not educated on the biases and inaccuracies involved with social profiles.

Terms: social profiling, perpetrator, victim, tunnel vision, psychopaths, visionary types, mission-oriented types, hedonistic types, power-oriented types, correlation, geographic profiling, stereotypes, and biases

Profiling is using information from evidence and drawing conclusions from that information to form a criminal’s personality, behavior, potential motive, and their demographic features. The text discussed that most profiling is done on serial killers. The most commonly known form of profiling is when we gather information about the individual’s personality. There is also geographic profiling. Geographic profiling is portrayed in pop culture. However, few realize that it is a type of profiling. Geographic profiling is when maps and statistics are used based off of where crimes have occurred to determine potentially the criminal’s home location or their traveling pattern. Thinkquest mentioned that profiling can be inductive where you compare the information to previous cases to determine the profile or deductive where details are utilized to create the criminal’s profile without using generalizations or statistics. A psychological autopsy is a form of profiling where you gather information about a deceased individual to determine their state of mind near or at the time of their death. A death could be natural, accidental, suicide, or homicide. Psychological autopsy is used to determine which of the four types of death it was.

The most common myth about profiling is that it is accurate and can be clearly used to identify and catch the criminal. Another myth is that serial killers fall into certain categories such as organized killers or disorganized killers. Another method tries to place serial killers into visionary, mission-oriented, hedonistic, or power-oriented. Both of these attempt to place the individual criminal into preset categories when they are actually individuals and may actually be quite different. Also, profiling may end up turning into stereotyping rather than actual profiling.

The first article on Thinkquest was consistent with the textbook’s information. The only new information it mentioned was inductive profiling and deductive profiling that I mentioned above. The APA website mentioned trying to figure out the personality of the criminal by looking at only 4 areas. Every website considered the Jack the Ripper case the first instance of criminal profiling. I personally don’t think any of the information from the three websites is very accurate. The reason for this is that the book mentioned several different studies done on criminal profiling. The studies show that profiling is usually inaccurate and may create tunnel vision where suspects outside of the profile range may not be considered. The APA website did mention that it is still being determined if it is more psychological or scientific and this website leans toward it being psychological with minimal hard facts.

Terms Used: Profiling, Evidence, Criminal, Serial Killers, Geographic Profiling, Inductive Profiling, Deductive Profiling, Psychological Autopsy, Organized Killers, Disorganized Killers, Visionary, Mission-Oriented, Hedonistic, Power-Oriented, Stereotyping, Tunnel Vision

Until reading Chapter five, Criminal Profiling and Psychological autopsies, I didn't know what profiling was. According to the textbook profiling is a process of drawing inferences about a criminal personality, behavior, motivation, demographic characteristics, based on crime scenes and other evidence. This definition was engineered by the FBI in the Behavioral Science Unit. The cases that most commonly involve profiling are cases applied to serial killers. Serial Killers are murderers who kill three or more people in separate events with a cooling-off period between murders. According to Agent John Douglas, a key attribute to a good profiler is judgment, a judgment not based on facts of figures, but based on instinct. It is very important to get into the mindset of the killer and also the victim, from the time the crime occurred. Three famous profiles have been famously named, they have been named, Jack the Ripper, The Olympic Bomber, The Mad Bomber. All three of them have been very influential in the profiling world.
There have been common characteristics that describe a broad range of serial killers; however, it doesn't describe every serial killer. A pattern of characteristics among serial killers include; many suffer from some form of brain injury that impairs rational thinking, most experience a combination of physical sexual and/or psychological abuse during childhood, nearly all are white males and like to dominate their victim before killing them. Most tend not to use guns and prefer strangulating stabbing or torturing their victim. Often times, they drink alcohol before killing their victim. Finally, most serial killers chose victims within their own ethnic group. Furthermore, profilers distinguish between two groups of murderers. Organized killers are described as carefully selecting and stalking their victim and planning out what they will do to their victims. They show patience by waiting for the right opportunity and cleaning up after the murder. Disorganized killers are impulsive and pick their victims are random, the act out of sudden rage and follow commands to kill from voice inside their head.
A myth that pertains to profiling happens to be assumptions. You need to go with your instinct but making assumptions are not validated or fully tested. There have been many examples where characteristics fall into both categories organized and disorganized killers. Also, sometimes there are crime scene characteristics that do not associate with certain criminal personality types. Another myth includes how consistent the behavior of an individual criminal is across crimes. People stay somewhat stable over time, but our personality can be determined by the situation. The process that determines whether two or more crimes were committed by the same person is called case linkage. Sometimes two crime scenes are very similar so officers assume they were committed by the same person. However, there is a chance they were not.
After reviewing the three above websites, I came to the conclusion that the three websites were very accurate. I thought the information that was stated on the websites went along great with our textbook. I noticed that the three famous profilers were included on the websites, as well. I thought the first website was easiest to navigate around because it different tabs for every aspect of profiling. I think if I didn't have the psych and law book I would be able to go to one of those websites and get a reliable definition of what profiling was.
Terms: Profiling, serial killers, organized killers, disorganized killers, victim, case linkage,

According to the book, profiling is defined as the process of drawing inferences about a criminal's personality, behavior, motivation, and demographic characteristics based on crime scenes and other evidence. The chapter did a good job of defining profilers and what they do. It also gave good reasons for why they are not always accurate all of the time. There were three famous profiles that were mentioned in the book. They were the profiles of Jack the Ripper, the Olympic bomber, and the mad bomber.

In the case of Jack the Ripper, the profile of him was very vague. The police described him as a man of great physical strength, a man of coolness and daring, and that he must be in the habit of wearing a cloak or overcoat. Like the book says these characteristics are hard to see with the human eye. They are cannot be traced like blood stains or other objects can be. They are behaviors that anyone can possess.

In the case of the Olympic bomber, the person doing the profiling targeted the wrong guy. They held the guy suspected in custody until the Olympics were finished. Afterwards, they released him and arrested another man who was connected to other related bombings.

The mad bomber was a man who was described as being between 40 and 50, Roman Catholic, foreign-born, single, and living with a brother or sister. In this case the man arrested, George Metesky, was single, unemployed, and a 54 year old former employee of Con Ed. He was also living with two sisters. The investigators were fairly accurate in this description.

I like how the book described these three cases. It was easy to see how profilers can be both right and wrong. The book did its best to describe serial killers, however, there really is no way to define them.

There are two types of killers, organized and unorganized. Organized killers seem to be intelligent and skilled in what they do. Unorganized killers are just the opposite. The chapter goes on to talk about how there are four different characteristics of serial killers. There are the visionary types who have visions or believe that they hear voices from God or spirits instructing them to kill a certain type of person. Mission-oriented types are motivated a desire to kill the people that they think are evil. Hedonistic killers kill for thrill and take pleasure in torturing their victims sadistically.

There are several myths linked to profiling. For example, many people will believe what they hear. If a profiler comes out and says to be on the lookout for a certain person, many people will freak out and be suspicious. They don't even know that the facts could be completely wrong. Also, the fact that the book uses categories such as organized and unorganized crimes falls short of reality. Serial killers can be anyone and it is extremely difficult to place people in to categories such as this. Also, profiling has not been proven to be valid in research, which can make some skeptical as to if it really works or not.

The links given above were useful in giving information about profiling and all of the different types. The websites and the book, however, do not seem to agree on some issues. For example, the websites do not tell us how profiling can be misjudged or misused.

Terms used: Profiling, Serial Killers, Organized Killers, Unorganized Killers, Visionary, Mission-Oriented, Hedonistic, Power-Oriented, and Validity.

Based on chapter 5, profiling is accumulation of a list of behaviors, quirks, demographics, and a criminal's personality to name a few. Profiling is heavily used when there is evidence of a serial killing. For example, if the profiler notices in each scenario that the murderer has a "signature", using a certain method of killing with the same actions carried out among all of the crimes, this can reveal the personality of the killer and this is part of profiling. The profiles will take into account the crime scene, information about the victims, the behaviors of the crime, etc. and will infer on what the criminal is like and what to look for in a suspect.

Profilers have also developed an accumulation of scenarios which might describe the characteristics of a suspect. Organized crime scenes have hypothesized characteristics of organized criminals which are completely opposite to an disorganized crime scene and the hypothesized disorganized criminals that correspond with the scene. This can make part of profiling quicker or begin, just by examining the scene of the crime.

There are many myths of profiling. TV shows and movies make profiling seem a lot easier than it actually is. There isn't a perfect formula to solve the crime and always accurately profile the criminal. Profiling is quite complicated in most cases. Not all criminals leave signatures and not all characteristics can lead to a specific suspect. Many inferences can be too vague to take into a account or describe too many people, or on the other hand, many inferences can cause tunnel vision, while the real criminal is free and getting away with his or her crime. Not all criminals are the same with the crimes they commit and they cannot always be placed into a certain type. Profiling is a helpful method, but is not always accurate and not always appropriate, especially if it merges with stereotypes.

After looking at the three websites, I noticed that they all share similar basic information about profiling, but our textbook goes much more in depth on technical terms, issues with profiling, research, and a data collection. I liked the first website over the other two because of it's brief and to the point descriptions of profiling and different types of profiling. All of the websites referred to the Jack the Ripper case, and supported it as one of the first cases of profiling. Overall, I think the websites are great resources, but our textbook goes into greater depth on the topic of profiling, its history, research, and methods.

Terms: Profiling, profilers, serial killers, signature, suspect, organized killers, disorganized killers

Based on my reading of Chapter 5, profiling is a classification system for identifying possible suspects. It involves the formulation of multiple characteristics that the perpetrator supposedly possesses. By definition, profiling is the process of drawing inferences about a criminal’s personality, behavior, motivation, and demographic characteristics based on crime scenes and other evidence (p.97). This means that investigators look at the crime scene and the evidence, and based off of that try to come up with the type of suspect they are looking for. In the chapter, profiling is even broken down into two different categories of killers: organized killers and disorganized killers. There was also a different classification system brought to the table that helped place serial killers into different categories. This system was made up of visionary types, mission-oriented types, hedonistic types, and power-oriented types. The differences between each of these types is where the desire to kill stems from. Profiling is not something to depend on when trying to pinpoint a perpetrator, though. According to the chapter, profiling definitely has helped solve crimes at times, but it has also led to many dead ends and useless final results.

Profiling is something that a lot of people do not know much information about because the only time they experience it is when they see a movie that shows the “Hollywood version” of it. This causes there to be many misguided thoughts and myths surrounding the whole topic of profiling. Some of these myths include, but are not limited to: profiling is a reliable method, crime scene characteristics fit into neatly bound categories such as “organized” and “disorganized”, crime scene characteristics are reliably associated with particular criminal personality types, behavior of an individual criminal is consistent across crimes, profiling does not lead to tunnel vision or stereotyping, all psychopaths are violent and psychotic, and psychopathy is untreatable.

Based on my list above, there are obviously many things that the common person would not automatically know about profiling. Profiling is not always a reliable method, even though it may seem like it from movies. Profiling has a lot to do with instinct and intuition, and even experts in the area have been known to be wrong a lot of the time. There is no possible way to come up with a foolproof list of characteristics for a suspect. The next myth I brought up had to do with characteristics being neatly bound and categorized. This is not realistic. A better way to look at it is to visualize a continuum and to place individuals at different places along the continuum based off of the different characteristics that they portray. Some people will fall on either end of the continuum, but there are also people who will definitely fall somewhere in between.

Next, I brought up the myths that crime scene characteristics are reliably associated with particular criminal personality types and that the behavior of an individual criminal is consistent across crimes. If these were true, then it would be easy to find case linkage and figure out who the perpetrator is without much of a struggle. It is not smart to say that crime scene characteristics are associated with criminal personality types and that behavior of criminals is consistent at all times. This is because of something called context, which in most cases is key to how a crime is committed. Context is so important.

Another myth that a lot of people want to believe is that investigators working on a case do not fall into the trap of tunnel vision or stereotyping. This is not true, though, because profiling sets us up for these disasters. We base our search for a suspect off of a list of characteristics that a profiler has come up with. This is extremely limiting in terms of looking for a suspect if the real suspect does not fit with any of the listed characteristics. Investigators who have tunnel vision or are working off of certain stereotypes will sometimes miss the actual suspect and will basically allow for their evasion of capture.

Lastly, the book has a section on psychopaths that discusses three myths in particular: all psychopaths are violent, all psychopaths are psychotic, and psychopathy is untreatable. Most psychopaths are actually not violent, and most violent people are not psychopaths. Psychopaths are almost always rational and are well aware that their illegal actions are wrong in the eyes of society. Also, psychopaths may benefit as much as nonpsychopaths from psychological treatment. Criminal behaviors may be amenable to treatment.

After reviewing the three links on profiling information, I found that the information presented is pretty consistent with what I read in Chapter 5. The websites basically shared information about what profiling is and what some of the drawbacks are. One of the sites went into detail about the history of profiling and how it developed over time, and another discussed the topics of inductive and deductive profiling, which were terms that I did not see in the textbook. The websites definitely did not go as in-depth as the textbook chapter did, but they were good resources to use for some quick information on what profiling is all about. One thing that the links could improve on would be to share more about the myths of profiling and why it is not always a reliable method to use. But, overall I would say that the sites were pretty accurate in informing readers about profiling.

I have learned a lot about profiling from reading this chapter and going through these additional links, and I can definitely say that it was enjoyable and interesting stuff! I am excited to learn more.

Terms: profiling, suspect, perpetrator, behavior, motivation, crime scene, evidence, organized killers, disorganized killers, visionary types, mission-oriented types, hedonistic types, power-oriented types, tunnel vision, stereotyping, psychopath, instinct, case linkage, context, investigator, psychological treatment

According to chapter 5, profiling is the process of drawing inferences about a criminal's personality, behavior, motivation, and demographic characteristics based on crime scenes and other evidence. The way to create a good "profile", the profilers have to analyze the scene of the act, collect information about the victim, and look at the police and autopsy reports.Although creating a profile can be very helpful, it has some defaults as well. One of the most important things they look at is the signature. A signature is the distinctive, personal aspect of the crime that reveals the personality of the perpetrator, basically looking at why they did what they do.

Profiling is mostly applied to serial killing, which are murders who kill three or more people with a cooling of period in between. There is no list of characteristics that fit all serial killers, but there are plenty of patterns that repeat themselves. For one most serial killers have had some kind of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse during childhood. Profilers differentiate between organized and disorganized killers.

Organized killers are killers who carefully select and stalk their victim and plan out what they would do to them. They practically are patient and will clean up evidence after the murder. They have some very intricate rituals that incorporate torture and mutilation. On the other hand, disorganized killers are more impulsive, have a random selection of victims, they are more willing to use a weapon, and have sex with the victim after death. Breaking these categories further there is visionary types, which are usually psychotic, mission-oriented types that are motivated by desire, hedonistic types that kill for the trills, and last but not least power-oriented types that get off form the the pleasure of controlling their victim.

The problems that come with profiling are assumptions. Not everything in a crime scene is going to fall into organized and disorganized. Also you cannot rely to base a person's personality on the crime scene. Another problem would be the cross-situational consistency. Context does matter, the setting, the victim, and the emotions can change all the time, which would lead to a different profile. One other problems is the myths.

There are three myths when it comes to what a "psychopath" means. A psychopath pretty much seems like a normal person who lacks guilt or empathy. This leads to myth 1: all psychopaths are violent. This is not necessarily true in the cases of Bundy, Gacy, Rader. Most psychopaths are not violent, and most violent people are not psychopaths. Next myth would be that all psychopath are psychotic. False, psychopaths are almost always very rational. The third myth is that psychopathy is untreatable. Psychopaths might be less likely to want any psychological help, but if they do seek it, it would be beneficial to them.

Reading the information in the three articles appeared pretty precie to the book. They discuss what profiling is. I thought the information that was stated on the websites went along great with our textbook. The three famous serial killers were mention on the websites, as well. It gave more detail about the mad bomber, but overall I loved the websites and it relates a lot to the book.

Terms: profiling, serial killers, disorganized, organized, victim, signature, visionary, mission-oriented, hedonistic, power-oriented

According to chapter 5, profiling is the process of drawing inferences about a criminal's personality, behavior, motivation, and demographic characteristics based on crime scenes and other evidence. The way to create a good "profile", the profilers have to analyze the scene of the act, collect information about the victim, and look at the police and autopsy reports.Although creating a profile can be very helpful, it has some defaults as well. One of the most important things they look at is the signature. A signature is the distinctive, personal aspect of the crime that reveals the personality of the perpetrator, basically looking at why they did what they do.

Profiling is mostly applied to serial killing, which are murders who kill three or more people with a cooling of period in between. There is no list of characteristics that fit all serial killers, but there are plenty of patterns that repeat themselves. For one most serial killers have had some kind of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse during childhood. Profilers differentiate between organized and disorganized killers.

Organized killers are killers who carefully select and stalk their victim and plan out what they would do to them. They practically are patient and will clean up evidence after the murder. They have some very intricate rituals that incorporate torture and mutilation. On the other hand, disorganized killers are more impulsive, have a random selection of victims, they are more willing to use a weapon, and have sex with the victim after death. Breaking these categories further there is visionary types, which are usually psychotic, mission-oriented types that are motivated by desire, hedonistic types that kill for the trills, and last but not least power-oriented types that get off form the the pleasure of controlling their victim.

The problems that come with profiling are assumptions. Not everything in a crime scene is going to fall into organized and disorganized. Also you cannot rely to base a person's personality on the crime scene. Another problem would be the cross-situational consistency. Context does matter, the setting, the victim, and the emotions can change all the time, which would lead to a different profile. One other problems is the myths.

There are three myths when it comes to what a "psychopath" means. A psychopath pretty much seems like a normal person who lacks guilt or empathy. This leads to myth 1: all psychopaths are violent. This is not necessarily true in the cases of Bundy, Gacy, Rader. Most psychopaths are not violent, and most violent people are not psychopaths. Next myth would be that all psychopath are psychotic. False, psychopaths are almost always very rational. The third myth is that psychopathy is untreatable. Psychopaths might be less likely to want any psychological help, but if they do seek it, it would be beneficial to them.

Reading the information in the three articles appeared pretty precie to the book. They discuss what profiling is. I thought the information that was stated on the websites went along great with our textbook. The three famous serial killers were mention on the websites, as well. It gave more detail about the mad bomber, but overall I loved the websites and it relates a lot to the book.

Terms: profiling, serial killers, disorganized, organized, victim, signature, visionary, mission-oriented, hedonistic, power-oriented

Profiling has become a job in the criminal justice system that the media has chosen over the years to sensationalize. In shows like Criminal Minds, profilers are portrayed as the heroes of extreme crimes. The profilers are depicted as those who possess the abilities to make inferences about the perpetrator without much evidence and still be spot on. However, this is not the case in real life profiling, which is actually a scrutinized practice by many.

Profiling is the process of coming to a conclusion about a criminal’s behaviors, motivation and personality based on crime scenes and evidence. Profiling, also known as, retroclassification or criminal investigative analysis, is mainly focused around serial killers and trying to get inside their minds to help prevent them from killing again. Profilers create a profile by analyzing a crime scene, talk with witnesses, examine evidence and evaluate police and autopsy reports. Profiles are created to help lead police and help narrow their searches during an investigation. A profile can direct police to a particular type of person and can help suggest questions that need to be asked or topics that need to be discussed during interrogation. Profilers also emphasize the importance of determining what the signature of aspect of the crime was. The signature of a killer is something that usually does not change and is something that they can create the profile around. Profilers take tangible evidence and create a profile based on characteristics they believe the killer should have to commit the crime in question.

There are many myths that surround the profiling profession. Due to media and literary portrayals of profiling, many people believe that profiling is used on a daily basis in solving crime and is extremely accurate. Profiling, in reality, is an unreliable way of finding a perpetrator. In most profiles that are made, there are several inconsistencies and irregularities and other times the profile is very generic and is not useful at all. For example, in the Jack the Ripper profile, the man described sounds like most professional men with a few minor exceptions. In this profile there was no real extreme that the police could latch onto to help find the killer. Profiles are depicted as being extremely accurate and that they help narrow down the suspect pool that the police have to deal with. However, if the profile is wrong or is too generic then the police can be too narrow minded and focus on only one suspect who may or may not be the perpetrator rather than looking at all their options. An example of this is the Olympic Bomber, where police were focused on Richard Jewell as the suspect for many years which ended up ruining his reputation and his life. In the end he was not arrested and was deemed innocent. However, the damage had been done all because a profile had pointed to Jewell as the suspect. Profiling can be unreliable at times and can have inconsistencies that can point police in the wrong direction, or profiles can be too generic and not point police in any direction. Profiling, as it is portrayed in the media, is a key component in the criminal justice system and has a large impact on solving crimes when, in actuality, profiling is a highly debatable topic that has yet to emerge as an essential part of crime solving.

The other three sites, as compared to Chapter 5, seem relatively accurate in their descriptions of profiling. The first website has a good brief overview of what profiling is. The site explains the myths and the cons of using profiling and how the media has skewed the public’s view of profiling. The second website, I believe, is the most deceptive website of the three. The second site focuses on the profiles on high profile cases that seem to have been accurate. The second website is doing almost the same thing that television shows and books do in terms of portraying profiling as a glamour job. The third site, in my opinion, was the best of the three websites. The website’s facts and information correlate well with what is said in our book. The third website depicts profiling for what it really is and discusses the myths and the debates that occur surrounding profiling.

Terms: profiling, criminal justice system, perpetrator, retroclassification, criminal investigative analysis, serial killers, witness, evidence, autopsy report, interrogation, signature

The idea that actions have a psychological cause in the individual who enacts them is the root of Behaviorism. One of the basic necessities of any scientific experiment is it's repeatability. If Psychology is to call itself a science, experiments must be held to some degree of scientific rigor. The important part is if this holds true, if manipulating the environment can cause similar action then similar actions can be caused by similar environments. Profiling follows this line of thought.

It is not one hundred percent. No two people are exactly the same, so we give Psychology a bit of wiggle room. This wiggle room means that Profiling can be hit or miss, because that small area adds up with each small difference from the previous subjects.

One of the downsides is that because we use profiling to exclude people from a suspect pool the chances of excluding the actual killer, of generating a false negative are there. The opposite side of this is when an innocent person is chosen because the profiling information points toward them, a False positive.

These are risks even with hard physical evidence, but they are lessened. Physical evidence indicates at least something happened whereas Profiling is extrapolation and conjecture. It doesn't mean that psychological profiling is useless. It just means it should never be the only tool you use in investigation. It is one angle that should be played, but know the risks and compensate for them, keep your eyes and your mind open.

Psychological profiling gets more accurate with each data point.


Behaviorism-Philosophy of psychology based on the idea that all things an organism does should be regarded as behaviors.

Repeatability-When the variation in measurements by a single person, instrument or experiment under the same conditions is below the agreed limit to be considered accurate.

Profiling-Investigative tool used to help investigators accurately predict the characteristics of criminal offenders.

False Negative-When the evidence seems to exclude the criminal offender.

False Positive-When the evidence points to someone who did not commit the crime.

Hard Physical Evidence-Any physical thing that exists and was present when a crime took place and is being used to find the offender.

Extrapolation-The process of estimating beyond observed data points.

Due to the fact that profiling has become such a televised profession, I was curious to find out more about it and see what the realistic profession is and does. Chapter 5 defines it as drawing conclusions about a perpetrator’s personality, the area they target, or other personal characteristics based on the crime scene they leave behind. It seems that profiling is specialized in by a very select group and is usually applied to serial killers. They tend to look for a ‘signature’, a specific personal aspect of the crime that is individual to the killer. The police can rely on profiling techniques like geoprofiling, or psychological autopsies to help discover clues, however the amount of help this would be truly depends on the amount of information left at the crime scene. However, it was interesting that the book stated that there is no way to know how often profiles are useful or how often they are not. The media tends to make it look like they are always used, and play a large role in catching a criminal, however I now know that it may not always be true.
There are multiple myths when it comes to profiling that may confuse the public to think that profiling may be profoundly more useful than it truly is. First, it seems that not all crime scene characteristics may be attributed to a criminal personality, making it difficult to profile that offender. Another myth is that profiles fit into a certain category such as organized and disorganized, but in actuality it falls on a continuum, meaning it is not specifically one or the other. Also, it seems that before reading this chapter I was naïve to think that a criminal’s behavior is always consistent, considering that our behaviors can be heavily influenced by the situation. Lastly, the myth that chapter 5 disproved was that the profile will fit the criminal. I learned that ‘tunnel vision’ could be a problem when it comes to profiling. By focusing on only specific details, it can lead police to miss certain suspects that do not necessarily fit their profile.
In regards to the websites given, it seems that for the most part they were an accurate description of profiling, however all three did not give the details that we learned in the book or took a look at the negative side to profiling. It seemed that the websites did not give an in depth description about how often profiling is useful, considering chapter 5 explains that there is not sure way to know.
Terms: profiling, perpetrator, crime scene, serial killers, geoprofiling, psychological autopsies, tunnel vision, profile

Profiling is the art of using deductive or inductive reasoning to determine characteristics of a suspect. Profiling has become a more common practice throughout history, beginning with Jack the Ripper. In order to draw conclusions on a criminals personality, behavior, etc. police investigators or psychologist will begin by critically examining the case file and all of the available evidence to better gain an understanding of the criminal. They will then make inferences about the previously listed items. Profiling is not only used to narrow down the parameters for who a suspect may be, it is also used to narrow a search area. This is called geographic profiling. Serial criminals are very likely to commit their crimes within a “comfort zone” of sorts. It is also likely that they live nearby that zone (aka an anchor point). By using clues in the evidence and seeing patterns of crimes, analysts can often reduce a search area from a whole city to a few neighborhoods.

Profiling is not something that can be used for all crimes. It has shown some effectiveness but only in the area of serial crimes. Specifically murder and sex crimes. One of the reasons that it may work in these areas is that serial criminals often have a signature, making them easy to track. The manner in which the crimes are committed may change but the signature should not. This is a vital aspect of profiling because it can often point to the needs or ideas of the criminal. It can point to if the criminal is visionary typed, mission oriented typed, hedonistic typed, or power oriented.

Profiling can be a useful tool if used correctly. But it can also be a great hindrance to a case because it can cause tunnel vision. Tunnel vision occurs when investigators begin to solely look for what a profiler has given as a description. In doing this they could very easily miss the actual perpetrator of the crime. Profiles should not be used as a definitive source, rather as a set of guidelines for one lead. Investigations should still go on in full and not be biased by the profile.

There are many myths about profiling and a lot of them stem from tv and film. Many shows depict profilers as a psychic being who can feel when and where a criminal will strike next. The reality of it is that most profilers are just highly observant and have an ability to focus in on what they believe is the thought process of the criminal. At that point they can deduce when, where, why, or what may happen next. Film and tv also display profilers as being extremely accurate and specific when that is not the case. In the Jack the Ripper case the criminal was never found and the best lead the profiler could give was that he was a strong man, that didn’t stand out, and was wearing a long coat. Or in the case of the Olympic bomber the wrong man was arrest based off of the profile that was presented to the police. It is very uncommon to have a perfect profile match up or even have a profile greatly aid in finding somebody.

Most of the information in the sources was consistent, with the exception of how effective profiling is. One source made it seem as though profilers were accurate enough to be of use on a regular basis, while the others painted them as having a very low success rate. The different studies presented throughout the readings all seemed to point to the fact that profiling is a highly complex and inexact science because within groups of profilers all will come to different conclusions. This was especially apparent when looking at level of formal training and what conclusions were made.
Overall, profiling can be an effective tool to use during the investigation of a serial criminal. It could provide leads or a reference point but should not be used as a definitive way to discover a criminal.

Terms: Profiling, personality, behavior, anchor point, personality and geographic profiling, serial crime, signature, tunnel vision, visionary types, mission-oriented, hedonistic, power oriented,

Criminal profiling is a process that investigators use to come up with a description that could help detectives find a serial killer, for example. They use just about everything from the crime scene to help them come up with this profile. They could use how the body was found, where it was found, and also in what condition it was found. They use these things to infer the behavior of the criminal and what motivates them to commit crimes. Once they gather all the information, they come up with a criminal profile that is provided as a guide to detectives as to what kind of person they are looking for in that particular case. One thing that was stated in the book about these profiles is that they are largely based on one's instinct or intuition.

With that being said, some of the problems with criminal profiling includes the previous statement. One of the main myths about criminal profiling is that it is extremely accurate. In reality we have no way of knowing whether or not this method is actually even reliable at all.
Even though they are professionals, they could sometimes be wrong which could lead to a wrongful conviction or even allow the murderer to get away or kill again. They might produce a profile of this particular killer that could be skewed just a little bit but that produces what the book describes as tunnel vision. It provides a description of the type of person they are looking for, but that description could be wrong, leading the detectives to look for the description and maybe toss to the side other possible suspects in the case.
Another issue stated in the book is about these inferences that criminal profiler's make. They can sometimes be too vague to even use to their advantage. An example used in the book is "has problems with women", while this could be a determining factor in the case, almost every man "has problems with women" at some point in their life.

The websites given appeared to be just about the same information, just not as detailed as the book was. The websites also did not go into the negatives of criminal profiling. They inferred that they were very reliable, which is something the book states that they can't be 100%.

Terms: profiling, serial killer, tunnel vision, inferences, behavior, motivation

when ever I hear about profiling I think about the T.V. show criminal minds. The book states that profiling is the process of drawing inferences about a criminal's personality. the websites talk about this. trying to figure out who the person is to try to catch them. both the book and the websites talk about jack the ripper. Reading all of this has helped me understand what a profiler is and makes me think about the episodes of criminal minds and seeing if they are what the book and the websites describe as profiling.

The website sponsored by Thinkquest is well organized and easy to navigate, but makes broad statements without reference to any particular source, and relies on popular beliefs rather than science. For instance, the first definition section states that profiling involves the investigation of “an offender’s behavior, motives and background”, which is really backwards. Profiling examines the crime to get information about the offender. The site goes on to state that “Research shows “ serial offenders are driven by media attention, without indicating what research or that not all offenders are motivated by media attention.
The second website, sponsored by Crime Library,, contains some interesting articles written by profilers like Gregg McCrary’s description of the Black Dahlia murder of Elizabeth Short. McCrary’s writing includes the details about body position, weapons and the injuries they caused. McCrary writes about the offender characteristics suggested by the crime scene, showing the process a profiler uses. The site reveals several myths about serial killers, including the idea that they are “addicted to murder” and unable to stop killing. The “History and Method” of profiling begins in the 1880’s with Jack the Ripper, and continues in the mid 1900’s with psychological and psychiatric reports of killers who had been caught, and attempts at profiling Adolph Hitler. An important profile by a psychiatrist, James Brussel, of a serial bomber in New York City is described as a historic turning point for the FBI’s future program.
The most informative of the three websites is the one sponsored by the American Psychological Association, which focuses on the integration of psychology into criminal profiling.
According to one of the first profilers, retired F.B.I. agent Gregg McCrary, the basic premise of profiling is that “behavior reflects personality”. McCrary believes that a profiler should look at a criminal’s behaviors in four phases of a crime:
Antecedent – before the crime, fantasies, plans;
Method and Manner – type of victim, weapon, use of weapon;
Body Disposal – at the scene or another place, staged, concealed; and,
Post-offense behavior – reacting to media reports, messages to press or
Early profilers did not have psychological expertise. The practice now attempts to include science in the basic art of deriving identifying information of the criminal from the crime. The APA site discusses the growing use of psychology as a reliable reference point for law enforcement who attempt to learn about a criminal based upon the crime scene.
Douglas and Ressler from the FBI Behavioral Science Unit investigated serial rapes and homicides from 1976 to 1979 and developed the theory that some crimes are “disorganized” and others are “organized”. This difference allowed them to make assumptions about the criminal. For instance, a disorganized crime is not well-planned, evidence is left at the scene, suggesting the criminal is young, under the influence of alcohol and drugs or mentally ill. On the other hand, an organized crime is premeditated and carefully planned, leaving little evidence at the scene. The organized criminal is probably anti-social and shows no remorse.

terms: profiling, offender, behavior, anti-social, evidence, mentally ill, behavior science,

I had always been interested in Criminal Profiling. I found it fascinating what profilers and psychologists could glean from crime scenes and communications from the killer. My fascination it seems however, had more to do with how the "art" of profiling was portrayed in movies and tv shows. I should have know that it wasn't nearly as effective in real life.

According to the book profiling is the process of drawing inferences about a criminal's personality, behavior, motivation, and demographic characteristics based on crime scenes and other evidence. Basically what this means is investigators look at the evidence of a crime and attempt to extrapolate characteristics of the perpetrator. This seems like it would be very helpful information. In reality, it is a mixed-bag of leaps and assumptions, with some information being accurate and some not even close.

Profiling is most famously used in cases involving serial killers. The book gave us examples of profiles of famous serial killers by the investigators at the time, and most of the information in the profile was useless to the man hunt. The information was very general and contradictory and hardly narrowed down the suspect pool. Only portions of the profiles were accurate with most of it incorrect or unverifiable. This flies right in the face of all the people who watch tv shows and see how the profilers give extremely accurate and helpful information that always leads to the capture of the killer. In reality, sometimes the profile given can have serious negative effects on the investigation. It can give the investigator tunnel vision if they rely to heavily on the profile and exclude viable suspects.

Another type of profiling is geographic profiling. This is more of a collection of statistics and facts mapped out. It shows where the crimes are taking place and investigators can see high crime risk areas and possible find the general location of the criminal. Geographic profiling is not based on intuition like Criminal profiling is, but that doesn't mean it is always helpful either.

In the end after reading more about profiling I have come to understand more about it's true effectiveness. Profiling can sometimes help an investigation, but should never be the primary driving factor when investigating crimes. Nothing beats good old fashioned police grunt work.

Terms: Criminal Profiling, serial killer, tunnel vision, Geographic Profiling

As with a lot of things psychological and law related, criminal profiling is an unsure subject and method. Our book describes profiling as “the process of drawing inferences about a criminal’s personality, behavior, motivation, and demographic characteristics based on crime scenes and other evidence.” What this means is that people in law enforcement or psychology try to create the description of how a serial killer or other criminal acts during his/her normal day. They try to figure out how this person is. As with everything else, this leads to a mix of successes and failures.
Being an avid watcher of the show, Criminal Minds, I had always wondered what the back story was as if to what the cast did in the show was real or not. It was interesting to read about how there actually is a Behavior Science Unit (BSU) and they do attempt to profile criminals for the FBI or other law enforcement agencies. These people use their skills to figure out details like if the criminal is organized or disorganized, visionary, mission-oriented, hedonistic, or a power-oriented type. These terms all help describe the type of killer someone may be. If they are organized, they carefully play their killings using a specific weapon or leaving some sort of sign known sometimes as a serial killers signature. But if the killer is disorganized, they leave a mess at the crime scene, including prints or DNA of some sort at times. Visionary killers are criminals that believe they have visions telling them to commit these crimes and activities whereas mission-oriented feel like they are helping man-kind by targeting certain people with certain characteristics. Hedonistic people kill for sexual pleasure and power-oriented killers kill because they basically love the feeling of it. These characteristics help describe the suspect that law enforcement is looking for but it is much more difficult to convict someone than the show makes it seem.
In Criminal Minds, the killer is always found. And according to the three websites, criminal profiling is a fairly successful method of tracking down murderers. But according to the book, there is slow research and unsure findings to support profiling. There are some successes with using this method, but as to how many, it is unsure. Some ways of profiling, like geoprofiling, are more accurate than others. This type of profiling uses math and mapping, something factual, to find locations that overlap and could lead to a killer. Many other types of profiling uses something we cannot see. They focus of the personality of a killer and this makes it harder to pick them out in broad daylight. People can change depending on circumstances too so having a general overview of someone’s personality, unless you are personally stalking them, makes it harder to find them. Also, some law enforcement officers can get tunnel vision from knowing a profile. This means that they do not keep an open mind about a killer and could potentially miss a subject because they don’t exactly fit the profile.
I also found it cool that in the book and on the websites, they told the actual stories of people using criminal profiling in real life. What I found even more interesting is that a lot of these real life stories were actually made into episodes on criminal minds. I had no idea that people did this in real life even though in the examples, very rarely were the killers actually caught. I still think this is an interesting subject and would love to learn more about it.
Although there are obvious problems and minor issues with criminal profiling, I find it to be a very interesting subject. Knowing that there is a job actually like those on the show Criminal Minds is very intriguing to me and I would love to try to figure out why people act how they do and try to find a suspect from me. Despite all the coolness of this job, it still needs a lot of work to be an adequate way to find and catch serial killers, murderers, and every day criminals.

Terms: profiling, serial killer, BSU, organized/disorganized killer, visionary, mission-oriented, hedonistic, power-oriented type, signature, geoprofiling, tunnel vision

Based on the chapter five reading, profiling is a method of examining a crime in order to induce or deduce characteristics of the perpetrator. These characteristics include their physical attributes, MOs, personalities, and demographics. This process is primarily used for identifying serial killers. Though profiling has been around for fifty years, it has not been standardized nor has its usefulness been proven. In fact, as in the BTK case, profilers often offer conflicting profiles that do not fit the characteristics of the perpetrators.
Profilers typically classify serial killers into two primary categories: organized and disorganized. Organized serial killers are much more methodical; the killer pre-picks his victim, stalks the victim, carefully cleans up evidence and hides the body. Disorganized serial killers are much more impulsive. This second type does not pre-pick his victim, performs multiple perverse acts upon the victim’s body, and does not dispose of the body.
Additionally, profilers have constructed four main motives for serial killers. These motives have been classified has visionary, mission-oriented, hedonistic, and power-oriented. Visionaries hear voices telling them to kill. Mission-oriented killers try to eliminate a certain type of person, such as prostitutes, because they think these killings serve a higher purpose. Hedonistic killers murder for some type of twisted pleasure. Power motivated killers, as the name implies, murder in order to exert power over their victims. These killers find their acts emotionally fulfilling for a short period of time.
Many myths surround profiling. The first myth, and probably the most important, is that profiling is accurate. Little evidence has been found that supports this claim. Rather, profiling may unnecessarily cause investigators to eliminate the wrong suspects and include the wrong individuals in their searches. In essence, profiling may create tunnel vision which can harm rather than aid an investigation. The book specifically defines three pervasive myths of profiling: all psychopaths are violent, psychopaths are psychotic, and psychopaths are untreatable. In reality, the characteristics of psychopaths do not necessarily lead to criminal activity. Psychopaths have an abundance of confidence, lack remorse or guilt, and can be very manipulative. Not all psychopaths are violent, lose touch with reality, or are untreatable.
Another logical fallacy of profiling is that all serial killers use the same method of operation each time they kill. This error is due to a lack of cross-situational consistency. In reality, killers may alter their MOs because their emotional states or other variables have altered.
Another type of profiling is geographic. Geographic profiling uses mapping and math to determine where the killer is likely to live. This may be more reliable than social profiling, but still has shortfalls. One of the main shortcomings of geographic profiling is that it assumes the killer operates out of a home base. An example provided in the book describes a situation where a 41 year old and a 17 year old, both without a permanent residence, paired up to kill persons from overpasses. Therefore, geographic profiling was inapplicable. However, this field is promising.
The additional articles varied in their reliability. The first article, from thinkquest, seemed to focus on hedonistic and power-oriented killers. This article was not inaccurate, but was missing a lot of important information such as other types of serial killers and the potential inaccuracy of profiling. The second article, from trutv, provided a lot of specific cases about serial killers as well as information about how profiling worked. However, this article also did not note that profiling can be unreliable. The final article, from APA, is definitely the most useful. This article links directly to another article entitled “Does Profiling Really Work?”. The APA article describes the methods behind profiling and also describes the influences of psychological research on profiling. Overall, the APA article offers the most objective view of profiling.
Terms: profiling, serial killers, organized and disorganized, visionary, hedonistic, mission-oriented, power-oriented, accuracy, objective, psychopath, cross-situational consistency, geographic profiling, tunnel vision, home base, reliability, untreatable

What is Profiling:
Profiling is a process that is done by analyzing a crime scene in order to make a judgment about a criminal’s motivation for committing the crime, a criminal’s behavior and personality, and a criminal’s characteristics based on age, race, and other demographic information. Profiling is used to provide leads for police and to focus the efforts of investigators. Profiling may also be used to set a trap for the criminal.

Profiling Myths:
A common myth about profiling, is that profiling is dependable and successful. This is a myth, because profiling may help in aiding investigators to a suspect in a crime, but this is only true in a small portion of cases.

Another common myth about profiling, is that similar crimes are committed by similar people. This is a myth, because research has supported that there is no correlation whatsoever between the types of crimes committed and the people who commit them. There are no concrete similarities between demographics between criminals who committed similar crimes.

Accuracy of Sources:
Thinkquest Source: This source contained information that did go along with what the book described in terms of profiling for serial killers. This source talked about the importance of a serial killer’s “signature” which helps to fulfill the perpetrator emotionally, as well as, helps in linking investigators to the killer due to the “signature” being the same across all victims in the killer’s crimes.

Trutv Source: This source does not go along with the textbook in that this source explains that profiling usually is a successful procedure leading to a suspect, although, as we have learned in the book in cases such as Jack the Ripper, suspects may never be found even with a detailed profile of the suspect.

APA Source: This source is accurate in that it follows the information with the textbook about what exactly profiling is. This source talks about the common goal of trying to create a description of the suspect, as well as, helping investigators narrow down possibilities of who the suspect/killer is. This source also talks about how both psychology and law enforcement are involved in this process, and that both are important in order to get inside the criminal mind to understand the “why” behind the crime and who might have done it.

The chapter on profiling was especially interesting to me because I enjoy reading investigative fiction that contains a great amount of profiling by law enforcement agencies. I wasn’t aware of how unsound, from a research viewpoint, profiling seemed to be. I always thought of it as something that professionals really could do, but didn’t really ever consider the fact that it was entirely subjective.

Based on the chapter, profiling seems to be the process of building an alleged identity of the perpetrator. That identity could include personality characteristics, physical characteristics, socioeconomic status, living arrangements, sexual impulses and much more. Usually, the profiler builds the profile using evidence from the crime scenes. The textbook definition of profiling is the “process of drawing inferences about a criminal’s personality, behavior, motivation, and demographic characteristics based on crime scenes and other evidence.” However, when put like that the idea of profiling seems rather systematic and empirical, when in fact, it is the contrary; profiling is generally an instinctual practice that is hard to actually put into play. For example, the entire process is completely subjective. The profiler has not method of actually building the profile beyond using his or her instincts and thought process. If the victim was strangled or physically harmed rather considerably, the profiler would probably conclude the perpetrator is of great physical strength. That is highly likely, but the perpetrator could also be trained in martial arts or have an accomplice or just have taken the victim entirely by surprise. Everything the profiler says is a “probably” or a “could be.” And while this is rather interesting, the textbook implies, and I would concur, that using profiling is a rather dangerous, and at times futile, practice. It is exceptionally difficult to search for a perpetrator based on descriptions such as “great physical strength” or “socially maladapted.” There is NO way to search for people based on that characteristic. To add to the dilemma, those descriptors may not even be accurate. Additionally, it may give investigators “tunnel vision” and cause them to ignore other possible leads.
The same can be said of psychological autopsies, which is an “effort to dissect and examine the psychological state of a person prior to his or her death.” A psychologist may be able to determine if someone maybe was depressed or even contemplating death. They may even be able to go so far as to say the person WANTED to commit suicide. However, using that to classify an accident, or something similar, seems much unfounded. Though I’m aware the idea of “reasonable doubt” would not necessarily be applicable in these circumstances, there really is a reasonable doubt that the accident may have been a suicide. The victim could have wanted to die another way, or another day, and had an accident, or the victim may have had some recent revelation that changed their mind about suicide. I think all a psychological autopsy can do is tell us whether someone was, at one point in time, contemplating death or suicide. There is no way to tell what someone was thinking directly prior to death.

There are several myths about profiling revealed in the chapter. The first, as I said earlier, is that profiling is not really an especially useful practice in investigations. An additional myth is that profiling is always admissible in court; oftentimes it is not. However, the myth that was MOST shocking to me is the idea that similar crimes are committed by similar criminals. Commonsensically, this appears to be a legitimate statement. However, the textbook reveals that this is a resoundingly false statement.

Most of the above sources are fairly accurate. One major inconsistency I noticed was the idea of “inductive profiling” which I talked about in the above paragraph. The source did say that there were questions about inductive profiling, which is the similarity of criminals for similar crimes, but did not mention the complete lack of statistical support for the theory.

Profiling, psychological autopsy, inductive profiling, tunnel vision

Criminal profiling has been something that has interested me ever since I took my first psychology class in high school. However, after reviewing these websites, it occurred to me that there is a lot more to it than I anticipated! People often get their perspective of criminal profiling from what they see on television. Nonetheless, it is easy to see how the public is easily influenced by what these crime shows depict rather than actual life. In chapter five, profiling is described as the process of drawing inferences about a criminal’s personality, behavior, motivation and demographic characteristics based on crime scenes and other evidence. So what does that mean, exactly? After reading the chapter and reviewing the websites, criminal profiling to me is basically just the study of criminals and their behavior according to their personality and crime history. Most profiling is done on serial killers, and using geographic profiling can bring about clues to help solve their mysteries. However, in order for criminal profiling to be accurate, a lot of evidence, clues and data must be gathered and utilized.
Myths are quite common when it comes to profiling. A lot of people are lead to believe that profiles are very accurate and lead police directly to the perpetrator. Unfortunately, this is false. While profiling can be extremely useful and helpful while trying to solve a case, and have lead to the arrest of many guilty people, they are not always the most accurate and have actually lead police off track in cases and resulted in arrests of innocent people. This is not Hollywood, and the ‘bad guy’ is not always caught at the end of the day. The balance of how often these profiles have proven effective and how often they have been useless is somewhat up in the air, for investigators do not have a clear ballpark figure handy. There is no doubt that profiles are not always a reliable source in solving cases, but they definitely can point investigators in the right direction, given certain circumstances. People also tend to believe that certain crimes are committed by similar people. Studies have disproved this theory, as people are clearly capable of committing any type of crime that is not in any way related to themselves or personality. Profiles can often be very vague or too specific, which can lead to tunnel vision. It is very easy for an investigator to miss a clue because he or she is too focused on a specific aspect of the profile.
The sources above seemed pretty accurate details on profiling and how it works. However, I believe that in order for sources to be completely accurate and fair, they must bring about both sides of the topic. As it was stressed in our book, criminal profiling is not always accurate. The websites failed to clearly bring about the negative sides of profiling, to which seemed a little biased in my opinion. The websites were generally very informative and educational, aside from that. Both the textbook and websites were resourceful and shed light on new perspectives regarding profiling that one does not get to see in the media.
Terms: criminal profiling, perpetrator, investigator, personality, demographics, geographic profile, media

Chapter 5 gives a good explanation of the basis of profiling and what exactly they look into. the definition of profiling that the book gives is: "Profiling is the process of drawing inferences about a criminal's personality, behavior, motivation, and demographic characteristics based on crime scenes and other evidence." A lot of profiling is done on serial killers because they typically go for more victims. The idea of the profiler is try to get in the mind of the killer and create of profile of exactly who the killer might be. When doing the reading it surprised me when the book said that there are only a dozen FBI agents who specialize in profiling. I guess I could see it both ways because there isn't a whole lot of serial killings, I just think that there would be more than a dozen. It just seems to me that they could be using the profiling technique on other sorts of crime. But, also while reading it said that the profiling technique isn't all that great anyway. The book gave three examples of cases that have used this technique. In Jack the Ripper, they had a profile on him but he was never found. The Olympic Bomber had a profile and they arrested the wrong person before completely destroying his life. Years later in 2005 the right killer was finally captured and convicted. The third case was about the Mad Bomber who practically led police on a wild goose chase. This case actually showed how the profiling worked because the psychiatrist gave them the profile and it was pretty close to being accurate and they caught the bomber this way. Another type of profiling that the book discussed was the geographic profiling, which relies more on maps and mathematics. A lot of times with serial killers, they stay in their geographic zone. When crimes scenes are analyzed and where bodies are found, this type of profiling helps make a map of where the killer has gone and begin to notice some sort of pattern. Geographic profiling is being shown as more accurate than actual personality profiling because it's based more on statistical information. What is becoming more and more new is the idea of the Behavioral Investigative Advice (BIA), which instead of practically guessing on information of a subject, it focuses more on using the media and other outside sources and gaining useful information.

The three myths that are given about profiling are: 1. All psychopaths are violent. Just because there were a few serial killers that displayed the psychopath trait doesn't make all the them psychopaths. Some killers clearly know what they are doing and they kill because it excites them and they get the thrill out of that. Some people may think that makes them a psychopath, but they have to show psychopathy traits, and not all do. The book says that "most psychopaths are not violent and most violent people are not psychopaths," which is a very true statement. People who are involved in violent fist fights doesn't make them psychopaths, there are another alternative explanations such as being drunk or just really ticked off.
2. All psychopaths are psychotic. This is very untrue because most psychopaths are rational. They know that what they are doing is wrong in the eyes of society, but they don't care about the concerns. There will be a serial killer every once in a while who will be psychotic.
3. Psychopathy is untreatable. I think that this is a big myth for a lot of things these days. People can be treated, maybe not 100%, but they can still be treated; they just HAVE to want the help and actually take what they learn to help make them a better person. Even thought psychopaths may be hard to treat, at least it will help in some way. I think a lot of people that want treatment deny it because they don't want to take the time to get help. If they do they want to be fixed right away and not have to go through the months of treatment for the help.

I think a lot of the outside sources and the book hit profiling dead on. I think the basis of profiling is to study a crime scene and the victim in order to find the person responsible. AS the given sources do of giving examples, a lot of the profiling is done on serial killers because they have more than one victim and usually they will not stop until they have been caught, or in some cases they may never be caught. Even though profiling is not all the accurate most of the time, it's still growing. With the millions of people out there, it's hard to find an exact match when people have a lot of the same characteristics and that's why profiling has to be so detailed on precise nowadays. It's happened too many times were law enforcement and chosen the wrong suspect and their life was practically ruined. As i stated before, profiling has a ways to go if it is ever going to be a fully accepted idea (even though television shows that it is a fully accepted idea and works every time, we should no better than this) , but you have to start somewhere with something, exactly with the idea of profiling.

terms used: profiling, law enforcement, serial killer, psychopath, psychopathy, crime scene, psychotic, geographic profiling, BIA

Chapter 5 defines profiling as "the process of drawing inferences about a criminal's personality, behavior, motivation, and demographics characteristics based on crime scenes and other evidence." Psychological profiling relies on instinct and inference. Three famous profiles discussed in the chapter are Jack the Ripper, The Olympic Bomber, and The Mad Bomber. Profilers have distinguished between organized and disorganized killers. The more notable type of criminals that are profiling techniques have been used on are serial killers. There is also geographic profiling, which is also criminal spatial mapping. This type of profiling relies on maps and math. It uses the locations of crime scenes and places where bodies have been dumped.
There are three myths about profiling. The first is "all psychopaths are violent." Yes there have been serial killers with characteristics of psychopathy, but most psychopaths are not violent and most violent people are not psychopaths. The second myth is "all psychopaths are psychotic." Psychopaths are almost always rational. They are aware of what they are doing is wrong in the eyes of society but they can shrug it off like its nothing. The third myth is "psychopathy is untreatable." Psychopaths are not often wanting to seek out treatment, but they may benefit from treatment as much as non psychopaths. Their criminal behaviors may prove more amenable to treatment.
I think the outside sources were fairly accurate. They shared characteristics with the book, such as organized and disorganized crime. The sources went into detail of many serial killers describing their crimes, such as Jack the Ripper. The sources also gave other good examples of profiles on serial killers. Profiling isn't always dead on, but it gives law enforcement a good idea of who or where to look. Also, it can give the public general characteristics of what a sexual predator or violent person may have if they are meeting new people. I think profiling is generally very helpful.

What is Profiling:

Profiling is the process of drawing inferences about a criminal’s personality, behavior, motivation, and demographic characteristics based on crime scenes and other evidence. Profilers have been mostly applied to cases dealing with serial killers. Profilers are used to provide leads for police and to focus the efforts of investigators. Profilers will tell investigators to look for a particular type of person and ignore the other types of people.

What are Myths about profiling:

One myth about profiling is that profilers are always appeared to be right and accurate about everything but as they talked about in the book about the Olympic Bomber the profiler lead the police to a man that fit the profile in every aspect, as the police continued to investigate this man after putting him through hell and posting his name and picture all over the world they came to find out that he didn’t commit the crime. It turned out to be another man and the profiler was wrong.

A lot of myths I think come from TV shows such as Criminal minds. This show is about a group of profilers that help the police find the killers. They always know when the killer is going to attack again like they have some psychic powers and they are always right. In real life profilers do help the police find the killer but they may not be always right.

The Book compared to the Website:

Most of the information that I read in the book and on the websites were pretty much consistent with each other except for a few things. One main thing that was different between the two was that the book made profiling seem slow and not always accurate as the websites made it seem like profilers have a high success rate and are a huge help. I agree that profilers can be a huge help but I don’t think that they have a high success rate as the websites were saying I would agree with the textbook more.

Profiling is a very interesting thing and I enjoyed learning more about profiling that I was unaware of.

Term: profiling, investigate, serial killer, crime scene

Up until the reading, I really had no idea what criminal profiling was all about, or that so much can be determined from crime patterns. I had seen movies like the silence of the lambs for example in which profiling activity takes place, but it never really occurred to me that profiling could be such a practical application of psychology in the real world.

In further reading (of the textbook especially) it was made clear that profiling is not as dependable or exact as media reports and movies might make it out to be. Despite this fact, there are many cases in which profiling has been highly successful. I was especially interested in reading about the case of New York City's "mad bomber" George Metesky. This individual planted 30 bombs around the city over the course of 16 years in a deranged vendetta against an electric company. A psychologist named Dr. James Brussel examined the bomber's letters and other forensic material and came up with a very specific description of the perpetrator which led police right to Metesky. This is particularly interesting because the case likely would not have been solved if it were not for profiling work.

One important section of the book described some myths about profiling. These may seem like common sense to those who are familiar with psychology and mental illness but movies and stories do tend to play them up. Three particularly pervasive myths are that all psychopaths are violent, are psychotic, and are untreatable. While these are simply untrue as hard and fast rules, it is easy to understand why a layperson may jump to those conclusions in hearing reports of particularly grizzly, bizarre, or serial crimes.

Terms: profiling, psychopath, forensic, serial, crime, behavior

Profiling got it's unofficial start in the late 1800's with the profiling of London's Jack the Ripper. Though Jack the Ripper was never apprehended so the accuracy of the profile could never be assessed, it did mark the beginning of the idea that evidence and circumstances of the crime scene could provide facts about the perpetrator that may lead to their apprehension.
This topic was particularly interesting for me because Criminal Minds is one of my favorite shows, and the premise of the show is following profilers of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit as they profile crime scenes to catch the perpetrator. I was very surprised after reading all the readings by A) How ineffective profiling actually is in real life and B) How little research has actually been done on it. In Criminal Minds they make profiling seem far more precise a discipline, with the person they end up catching almost always fitting the profile exactly. What I learned to be true through my readings was much the opposite.
The main idea of profiling seemed, to me, to be taking a crime scene and the crime its self to put the suspect into smaller and smaller groups until they are in a small enough pool to search systematically. In the case of a murder for example, was the killer organized or disorganized? Did they bring the murder weapon and restraining tools with them? Did they know the victim? Did they plan to commit the murder? If so you are dealing with an organized killer. They came with a plan and the tools necessary to carry it out. In these instances the killer probably takes great care in selecting the victim and planning the abduction and murder, and then cleans up after themselves when they are done, making them more difficult to track down. If, on the other hand, the killer uses a weapon that they found on the scene, abducted their victim out of convenience, and left evidence behind at the scene, you are probably dealing with a disorganized killer.
After you identify to which group your killer belongs, you can identify which "type" of killer they are. Visionary type killers typically have visual or auditory hallucinations telling them to commit this crime. In this case the killing plays a role in the persons psychopathy, and understanding the delusion and what part the killing plays in it will help lead you to the killer. Mission type killers on the other hand, kill to try to rid the world of people they see as evil or unfit to live. This type of people might focus on sub-groups like prostitutes for example, seeing them as evil or unclean. Hedonistic type killers are more of what we tend to think of in pop culture when we think of serial killers. These are the people who kill for the pure enjoyment of killing. They take sadistic pleasure in torturing and killing their victims. This killers often have a sexual component to them. So too do Power-Oriented type killers. These people kill to assert dominance and control over their victims. Though there is usually a sexual component to these murders, it is tertiary. The main focus is on controlling the victim.
Another way to thin the pool of suspects is to identify whether or not they are a serial killer, that is, have they committed three or more separate murders with cooling off periods in between. If so these murders can be linked by their signature. Though their MO may change, their signature will stay largely consistent through each crime. It is important to distinguish that the MO is different than the signature. The MO (modus operandi) is how the crime was committed (how the victim was selected, restrained, murdered, etc.) whereas the signature is why or in what way the murder was done. They can be difficult to tease apart as they are often closely linked. For example, in the silence of the lambs, Buffalo Bills MO was to abduct larger women, keep them for three days, and then kill them. His signature was removing the skin. Keeping them for three days (MO) made it easier to remove their skin (signature).
When I thought of profiling, homicides where the types of crimes I thought of, but the readings pointed out that other types of crimes can be profiled as well. I was very surprised, for example, that studies found that profiles for sexual abuse cases were far more accurate than those made for murder cases, if for no other reason than I would have thought there would be more evidence available at the crime scene of a murder than a sexual assault. That was just one of the things these readings have opened my eyes to.

Profiling, Organized Killers, Disorganized Killers, Visionary Type, Mission Type, Hedonistic Type, Power-Oriented Type, Serial Killer, Signature, MO, Evidence

Leave a comment

Recent Entries

Welcome to Psychology & Law!
Familiarize yourself with the blog. You'll quickly notice that all of your assignments are listed here in chronological order.…
Using Movies
In time for Thursday's, please read the following link:  as well as the 3 resource links at the…
Book Selection
There are several options for you to choose from to do your book report. They are: Lush Life, The…