Recently in Criminal Profiling Category

Watch the way you walk, you could be watched by a psychopath and may be targeted as an easy target to be mugged or to be attacked.

To learn how psychopaths choose their victims and the characteristics that make a person vulnerable to being chosen.

Here is the website:

Inside the Mind of Pedophile

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I found this to be very interesting because I am still up in the air about what I think about how pedophiles should be treated.  I obviously think it is a crime and they should be locked up, but while reading the article they interviewed a man who had committed his crime while a teen, and it still follows him around as an adult.  Which, to me if you've served your time and you were a teen it should be eliminated from your record but you should have to do mandatory check in with a probation officer, mandatory counseling, and still not be able to live with in a certain radius of children. 
This article gave me a bit more incite of how it is to be in the position of someone who has served their time and their life will not and can not ever go back to how it was.

Digital Physiognomy and Free Downloads

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For my book report for this course I am reading Mind Hunter by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker.  In the book, Douglas describes his interviews with criminals in the prison system in order to develop profiles for serial killers as part of a huge research project.  This was part of an effort to develop a Psychological Profiling Program, to make it easier for investigators, police, and the FBI to catch criminals faster and easier, by being able to "get inside their heads" and track their next moves. This got me interested in criminal and psychological profiling so I decided to google it.  I came across digital physiognomy software and free downloads.



Digital Physiognomy was developed as entertaining software, allowing people to create a portrait of a person and then provide a description of the person's character, traits, preferences, likes and dislikes, etc. You can choose different facial features and put them together, similar to the composite software that we can borrow from Dr. Maclin for our projects and what police use to make sketches of suspects. 

Testing out digital physiognomy or composite software gives us a real life account of creating a "picture" of a suspect.  I checked out the composite software from Dr. Maclin and found it difficult to do.  Difficult for the "witness" to come up with a description and difficult for me to choose accurate features from the extensive list.  Of course composites are biased to either the witness's perception or memory and the composite creator's training and expertise; however, both are useful in coming up with a tangible idea of the suspect. 

A free demo version is available at  I did not have a chance to download it or see if it works, but I encourage people to check it out and see what it is all about!



Criminal Profiling

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This is a really neat site about the profiling of serial killers and other mass murders. A lot of it is based on information from the FBI, and it has some cool information about the killers, and how detectives can often determine a profile of a potential suspect just by looking at the crime. It is pretty coo, and worth a look, especially if you read Mind Hunter, and found it interesting

Dubai murder suspects climb to 26

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I'm not an investigator or remotely close to being labeled one, but something tells me a case with 2 or 3 suspects doesn't seem near as bad as having to deal with 26. How would you even begin? Where would you begin?! The news story I chose deals with the murder or Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Investigators had it "narrowed down" to eleven suspects when Dubai police announced that they had 15 new suspects. Investigators now have the daunting challenge of narrowing down this huge list of suspects. Police in Dubai, India suspect that secretive Israeli foreign intelligence unit is behind the attacks. Not only is the amount of suspects an issue to deal with, but also the fact that these suspects are carrying passports from various point around the world (passports from Australia, France, Ireland, Great Britain). Countries that are helping out with the investigation also noted that those passports were created in a legal manner - what a shocker.

Check out this story - there are videos along the left side you can view for further information.

This article caught my eye while I was browsing CNN.  It is about a how a 16 year old, named Ricky Blackman, in Iowa had sex with a 13 year old because he was told the girl was 15.  The girl ran away from home and the cops came to the young mans house looking for her.  This is when he found out she was actually only 13.  He then admitted to have sex with her and was arrested.  He was put on the sex offenders list in Iowa and was told that if completed the treatment, his name would be taken off the list.  His family then moved to Oklahoma to start a new life.  Ricky completed his treatment and was taken off the list in Iowa but he did not come off the list in Oklahoma. 

Rick had a red stripe that said he was a sex offender on his drivers license.  Whenever he went places to buy things that needed an ID to be shown, he would not be served.  He could not even get jobs at Wal-mart and McDonald's.  He was not allowed to go to school and finish high school or get his GED. 

Eventually Oklahoma took the red strip off of Ricky's license but the affects of his poor treatment still take a tull on his everyday life.  He is nervous around children and women because he doesn't want to be looked at like he is doing something wrong.  He doesn't go to his brothers football games because he doesn't want to make people upset that he is there even though he is off the list.

The are so many psychological problems that he could have developed just from not being able to hangout with people his own age and getting treated like crap from everyone in his community.

Iowa Bill Erases Underage-Drinking Charges

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Iowa's legislature is in talks of passing a new bill that will, if passed, eliminate old criminal charges for drinking. 18, 19, and 20 year olds will be able to wipe aclohol-related offenses off their plate. This insures that Iowa students will still be able to find a job after college.


What are some of the psychological implications that factor here? Will underage students drink MORE now knowing that their record could be erased? I personally feel that underage students will drink they same no matter what the law is. It does put some people's mind at ease knowing that they will be able to have the charge removed, insuring that it will not come back to haunt them later on in a job interview.  

In my Cognitive Psychology textbook, Cognition: Theory and Applications by Reed, there's a box that talks about why we have trouble distinguishing faces of people who are a different race from us.

People are notoriously awful at recognizing faces from other races. It's a human foible often explained by the notion that we have more experience looking at members of our own race and thus acquire "perceptual expertise" for characteristics of our own kind.
One influential version of that hypothesis argues that the so-called cross-race recognition deficit can be modeled by assuming that faces of other races are more psychologically similar than are faces of one's own race. But Daniel Level, PhD, a cognitive psychologist at Kent State University, has been unsatisfied with that argument.
"The perceptual expertise position is pretty intuitive, and it makes sense," he says. "But I'm arguing that it's not really the case. The problem is not that we can't code the details of cross-race faces - it's that we don't."
Instead, he says, people place inordinate emphasis on race categories - whether someone is white, black, or Asian - ignoring information that would help them recognize people as individuals. In recent research, Levin has shown that people can, in fact, perceive fine differences among faces of people from other races - as long as they're using those differences to make race classifications.
For example, Levin explains, "When a white person looks at another white person's nose, they're likely to think to themselves, 'That's John's nose.' When they look at a black person's nose, they're likely to think, "That's a black nose."
The results are important, Levin maintains, because they help explain the long-standing question of why people are poor at recognizing the faces of people who  belong to other racial groups. Such an understanding could be useful in a variety of settings, including training police and others in the justice system to identify faces more accurately.

Source: From "Why do 'they all look alike'?" by Siri Carpenter, Monitor on Psychology, December, 2000, p. 44.

Predicting Dangerousness

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Psychology, as a science, attempts to both explain and predict.  This post, as the title indicates is about predicting the dangerousness of criminals; and is a huge topic of discussion in forensic clinical psychology right now.  The following link is to a power-point demonstration by Dr. George Parker, a medical director and director of forensic psychiatry in Indiana.

Amongst other things Dr. Parker lists a number of risk factors for various age groups that are strong, moderate, and weak predictors of dangerousness.  Substance abuse and prior history (especially if from gang activity) are strong predictors of violence in youths, however psychiatric problems and unstable family relationships (unless directly linked to substance abuse and prior history) both weak predictors of dangerousness.

The power point must be read critically since we do not have the benefit of Dr. Parker's explanations for various findings and arguments; but there is enough information there that you can work your way through the power point successfully.  The problems with predicting dangerousness can be understood, I believe, when it is applied to the seven principles which Hall (1947) set out for determining if a behavior is criminal or not.  I'm doing a project for my portfolio on this topic so will withold other comments for that discussion topic.

Columbine 11 Years Later

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Perhaps on of the best know and worst school shootings in history, the Columbine school massacre has for years made people think bullying lead to all of the destruction.  With this news piece written a year ago is talks about another angle that after years of investigation has lead to show that the two responsible were actually not just two regular boys but two that would be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.  Basically saying they were psychopaths and there is more to the story then once told. Video from the Columbine High School surveillance camera shows Eric Harris, left, and Dylan Klebold, carrying a TEC-9 semi-automatic pistol in the cafeteria. They later killed themselves in the library.


Profiles in Murder

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For my Homicide class we had to read this book Profiles in Murder by Russell Vorpagel. I actually found the book to be really good. It is about a real life profiler for the FBI Behavior Science Unit and actually put the unit on the map and made a good name for it. He talks about real cases that he was involved in and what profiling did within those cases. In the book he is a professor teaching others to become profilers and who are generally interested in what it does for cases. He explains that if a profile is wrong it can through off the entire case and they could be searching for the completely wrong suspect. He goes on explaining that if you see a crime scene and it looks like an accident that being an investigator that every possiblility needs to be looked before murder or suicide can be ruled out.

This book was very good and if anyone is interested in learning about real and strange cases and how profiling was used then this would be a great book to read and it is a very quick read!


Munchausen's Syndrome By Proxy

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 Munchausen's Syndrome By Proxy (MSBP) is a form of child abuse that often times is not caught by social services, law enforcement, or other reporting agencies. This is because the behavior of the offender (typically the child's mother) doesn't fit the stereotype we imagine a child abuser to have. MSBP is a disorder where the abuser will purposely fain or sometimes cause a child's illness so that the child must receive medical care (usual hospitalization). This is so the abuser may gain sympathy and attention from others and receive praise for being such a "good parent."
 The article above describes the characteristics of both victim and abuser, warning signs to look for, and how to properly investigate a case where MSBP may be a suspicion.

Serial Killers: Top 7 Myths

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 I found this site today which clarifies the inaccurate myths people have about serial killers. The information was gathered from a 5 day symposium held by the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Behavioral Analysis Unit. It's pretty informative and the site looks like it has a lot of other information on it for a variety of other topics as well. I didn't get a chance to go through all of it though but I definitely have it bookmarked for later use. Enjoy!

Predisposed to be a Criminal?

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This article discusses the interaction between genes, the environment and the impact they have on criminal behavior. In the article the researchers discusses three different ways in which psychologists have researched whether or not humans can be predisposed to commit a crime. Researchers looked at Twin Studies, Adoption Studies, and Family Studies. Researchers also looked at the different neurochemicals that interact with the environment which can cause the predisposition. A  lot of the information in this article was more biologically based once I got into the reading but overall it was very interesting.

Caught in a lie?

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I found an interesting webpage on how to catch a liar by watching there eye movements. I thought this would be interesting to learn about. The website explains what direction if the eyes move a certain way (up and to the left would be making up facts) and what they might be thinking at the time. They said that it isn't a science but it is a good indicator of honesty. I know that this could be useful when questioning a witness or suspect to tell if they are actually lying about what happened. I am interested in body language and other forms of indicating what someone is feeling. Here is the website that I found and maybe you can learn by watching someone's eye movement if they are lying!


Not only can a person watch someone's eyes there is research on body language and how they are feeling during a conversation, or according to their body language, are they telling the truth, not just in their eyes. Most people do have to get a baseline when trying to figure out how someone is feeling, but our bodies will do certain things depending on how we are thinking and feeling at the time. This is a good way for an investigator to possible get a feel for the person they are questioning or interrogating. Here is an article by a well known body language expert Tonya Reiman.


Police Shot Waterloo Man

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In the discussion of discretion, a case came to mind from about six months ago that involved a police officer shooting a perpetrator of a domestic dispute gone bad and included the two police officers having to try and restrain the man but failing to do so.  The fact that the officer shot the man in the chest multiple times caused many to question his discretion of the situation. 

This is the a follow up article that expalins a bit more.

I found this website by the Amercian Psychology Association (APA).  The website first talks about George Metesky from New York who was convicted of planting bombs in New York in the 1940's and 50's.  It tells how the police went to psychiatrist James Brussel to help come up with a description of the person who was planting these bombs.  Brussel's description ended up leading police to Metesky who was then arrested for his crimes.  The website also goes into how profiling works, psychology contributions, and how the psychology and law enforement relationship works.  This website is actually about the magazine called Monitor on Psychology.  This magazine is published by the APA.  Below is the front cover of the magazine that this article was featured in.  This magazine talks about a number of subjects and from this website you can gain access to other articles from the Monitor.




This article is about the Fort Hood Shooting. What makes it relevant is the evidence which it provides, detailing specific events that should have warned supervisors of Major Nidal Hasan to not promote him, or at least be cautious of him. This could have prevented the deaths of 13 people and wounds of many others. The article discusses different actions done by Hasan that many perceived should have warranted the prevention of his promotions in the army. Some of these actions include a presentation about questioning the U.S. constitution and claiming Islamic law is more important, and frequent poor performance reviews from superiors where he attended medical school. This raises important questions about profiling when trying to prevent crimes.

Criminal Profiling Agency

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The Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency

Providing crime scene analysis, behavioral profiling, and life advice to attorneys, producers, businesses and individuals