used frequently by the police agencies. In the last decade, the assistance from psychologists within the UK can be termed as behavioural investigative advice (Alison, 2005). Criminal profiling regardless of the anxieties that surrounds its efficiency, it has continuously been a criminal investigation instrument. Henceforth, criminal profiling is related normally along with enquiry due to absence of flawless evidence of its validity and reliability, the situation of acceptability in court stays questionable (Kocsis, 2003).
The aim of the essay is to evaluate critically the evidence that criminal profiling is effective. In order to evaluate this topic, criminal profiling will be defined, the weaknesses and strengths of different profiling methods together with the similarities amongst them will be identified.
Criminal profiling according to Snook, Eastwood, Gendreau, Goggin & Cullen (2007) is defined as a method of predicting an offender’s behavioural trend, personality characteristics, biographical traits and geographical location based on the evidence of the crime scene. The definition of criminal profiling in accordance to FBI model can be described as a technique that identifies the type of an individual likely to commit an offence based on the certain personality traits that distinguishes them from the public (Douglas, Ressler, Burgess & Hartman, 1986).
Muller (2000) reported that the three kinds of traditional methods to criminal profiling can be classified as (1) the clinical practitioner method, (2) the scientific statistical method, and (3) the criminal investigative method. Goodwill, Alison & Beech (2009) highlighted that most of the criminal profiling perspectives consist of analysis that lacks precise hypothetical background on the criminal profiling technique and the experiential multivariate investigation methods were used by few articles.
According to Doan & Snook (2008) the Federal Bureau Investigation’s typology known as organised non-social criminals and disorganised asocial criminals dichotomy are the greatest typology utilised within the criminal profiling domain. The fundamental hypotheses of typology of criminal profiling are (1) established on the crime scene actions, offence can be classified as organised in which the criminals are described as being more than normal in personality traits (social competent), sexually competent, lives with their partner, prefers skilled work and has maximum interest in the media regarding crime news. The disorganised criminals are usually beneath the normal in personality traits (socially incompetent), possess below average intelligence, sexually incompetent, lives without a partner, and considerable behaviour adjustment is displayed following the crime. Subsequently (2) established on the contextual behaviours of the offender, they can be classified as organised or disorganised, and (3) amongst offenders and offences similarity exist (Doan and Snook, 2008).
Snook et al, (2007) highlighted that during criminal investigations the influence of profiling is unknown profiling and the FBI model forming criminal profiling for an unidentified offender incorporates four stages. The initial phase is data assimilation, which involves collection of data from the crime scene by the police officer, photographs of the crime scene, and pathologist reports. The second phase involves crime categorisation, and the third phase is crime reconstruction, where hypotheses are generated involving modus operandi, crime sequence, and victim behaviour and then forwarded to the profiler. The fourth phase is the profile generation, in which hypotheses presented based on behavioural habits, demographical characteristics, personality dynamics of the sort of person likely to have perpetrated the questionable offence is provided by the profiler at this stage (Snook et al., 2007).
The FBI model has been criticized for using face value to classify a criminal’s personality traits, which can result into wrong classification of the crime, absence of pragmatic testing, lacks organization and the sample of offenders selected very small (Canter, Alison, Alison & Wentink 2004). The psychological processes emphasised on through numerous reports according to Alison (2005) affects the method the profile contents is implied and also the information on which the presented profile was based on. Likewise, Alison, Smith, Eastmans and Rainbow (2003) reported that during their profile sampling, they found that the claims made do not possess proper base in psychological expertise and were uncorroborated.
The UK model of criminal profiling according to Canter (2010) is a condition in which offenders constantly behave no matter what the situation maybe the offender’s behaviour comprises of certain consistency. During the investigation of an offender’s behaviour the non-offending segment of their normal life will be revealed. The behaviour analytical tactics in the UK provide assistance to investigative efforts and clinical understanding of crimes (Canter, 2010).
The two models of criminal profiling according to Alison, Bennell, Mokros, and Ormerod (2002) are the homology and consistency assumptions conditions that validate criminal profiling. The homology assumption is a condition that connects offender’s characteristics similar to the crime scene behaviour. The consistency assumption is a condition, where the offender displays consistent behaviours throughout crimes to the same extent as characters, against conditional components. Also the theory implied that offenders within other parts of their lifetimes and the offense they commit will exhibit comparable manners. The empirical analyses of homology assumption include exposing the behaviour at the crime scene to multidimensional scaling analysis in order to obtain the types of crime (Doan & Brook, 2008).
Lately, Woodhams & Toye (2007) analysed the homology assumption based on a certain number of commercial robberies in Britain, in which three categories of burglars were exposed by using a cluster analysis. Similarly, studies have revealed evidence that consistent behaviour exist in the background characteristics of the crime scene and among the perpetrator that committed the different types of robberies.
Alison et al, (2002) ; Woodhams & Toye (2007) reported that several findings have given supporting proof that criminals can commit offence consistently in numerous manners, depending on the type of offence selected and the offender’s behaviour throughout offences such as sexual assault, robbery, arson etc. Mostly for sexual assaults the effect of background and situational considerations based on significant number of results as of various areas have supported the variability in offending behaviour. Likewise, Beauregard, Proulx, Rossmo, Leclerc, & Allaire, 2007 have supported that the technique of consecutive sex criminals can be affected through different background influences. The perspective of rational choice explains the method in which situational factors can affect the procedure of decision making by the offender.
The FBI model of criminal profiling according to Snook, Cullen, Bennell, Taylor & Gendreau (2008) presumes that criminals throughout their lifetimes can be motivated to act in a disorganised or organised manner, which enable correct profiling of the offenders background characteristics, and accurate linkage of an offence committed by a person. Santtila, Junkkila & Sandnabba (2005) explained that a thematic method is used to demonstrate linking behaviour accuracy within offence types that are not the same. Additionally, Canter (2010); Alison, Goodwill, Almond, Heuvel & Winter (2010) supported that geospatial evidence claimed the excellence in support of effective linking procedure and serial crimes shows certain behaviour consistency measure, while sexual crimes seems to be especially vulnerable to situational factors. Santilla, Pakkanen, Zappala, Bosco, Valkama & Mokros (2008) highlighted that the application of discriminant function testing and non-parametric mokken scaling with a number of 116 serial murders produced linking accurateness of over 61%. Also by means of Bayesian method application with the same number of serial homicides together with low and high rate conducts produced linking accurateness of about 83% (Salo, 2008).
Bennells and Canters (2002) reported that based on their findings for behaviours relating to theft were noticed to have a low consistency level and in the choice of offence location a high consistency level were established. Likewise, for residential burglary and commercial robbery according to Woodhams & Toye, 2007; Bennell & Jones (2005) the level of consistency was found to be high for some behaviours and low consistency levels for most other behaviours. Bateman and Salfati (2007) explained that examining and categorising behaviours by means of numerous and consistency methods based on the serial killer offence, identified no consistency proof was established throughout the offence.
Bennell & Canter (2002) highlighted regarding behaviour consistency that differences in a person’s behaviour for it to be functional for investigative purposes, it has to be lower than the rest. Findings in some theft issues revealed that is likely to correctly predict that some crimes connect and to distinguish amongst certain traits (Woodhams & Toye, 2007; Bennell & Jones, 2005). Davies et al (1997) cited in Snook et al, (2008) that rapists that forcefully entered buildings possess higher probability of having property crimes conviction compared to those that were not involved in such behaviour. Nonetheless, House (1997) cited in Mokros & Alison (2002) reported based on the assumption test that rapists that display high levels of criminal behaviour in their acts are very much liable of showing contextual traits, associated towards criminal behaviour compared to the other rapists categories.
According to Alison et al, (2010) homology assumption based on empirical tests for numerous kinds of crimes have not really been supported and the results of offender homology by lots of characteristics degrees were not as much supportive. Alison et al, (2010), further explained that antisocial criminals for example rapist have a habit of been flexible, which tests the simplicity of homology assumption. Likewise, Alison et al, (2002) explained that amongst crime activities and criminal traits a continuous connection without recognising the effect of the conditions will not likely to provide successful evidence.
Snook et al, (2008) highlighted that repeating messages that criminal profiling is been used by police detective for investigations for the reason that it’s very useful. Additionally that criminal profiling works and lots of workforces are taught, and expert in applying criminal profiling as an effectual instrument for investigation. All this can convince people to believe criminal profiling is very useful, valuable, and add to its impression (Snook et al., 2008). Depue, 1986; Douglas & Burgess (1986) highlighted that progressively incidents were investigated effectively, also achievement were identified within numerous regions with law enforcement agencies and accurate construction of criminal profiles.
White (2003); Kocsis (2004) highlighted that accurate predictions emphasised by the profiler that criminal profiling can produce the illusion that criminal profiling is very feasible. Also carrying out findings that measures only accuracy as the correct number of predictions instead of the correct proportions predicted. This can make people believe that criminal profiling is helpful, and lead to overvalue the ability and correctness of the profiles. An example presented by Douglas and his colleagues of over 28 predicted criminal characteristics, in which 11 were accentuated has been correctly predicted and 18 has incorrectly predicted (Snook et al., 2008).
Peoples believe that experts do possess a specialist skill within a specialised field, can make individuals to receive the data provided to them by such expert as accurate (Kurz-Milcke &
Gigerenzer, 2004). Kocsis, Cooksey, & Irwin (2002) explained further that profilers claimed that they possess specialised knowledge, investigative experience and technical training skills, which enable them to predict from the crime scene evidence the character of the criminal. It also enables them to distinguish amongst offender’s behaviour, background characters, crime information, and the statistical link (Kocsis et al., 2002). Snook et al, (2007) criticised that profilers up to the present time have not been able to demonstrate their specialist skill to develop correct profiles.
Personality investigation according to Alison et al, (2010) implied that individuals tend to accept ambiguous report as their correct personalities descriptions, because they believe is established on psychological evaluation technique. Peoples believe about the skill of the profiler and offender profiling technique can be especially beneficial, as individual become subjected to ambiguous report. Alison et al, (2003) explained that during their analysis of criminal profiles about 21 with around 3,089 total statements, a percentage of ambiguous report of 24% was found. Some of the percentage reports were falsified, not provable, unauthenticated concerning the probabilities of the behaviours of the unidentified offender.
Dawkins (2003) highlighted that individual believe things done by others by imitating the things they have done in a particular way. The investigation on social contagion implied that once individuals observe a conduct that seems to have worked, they will then adopt such conduct beliefs. This outcome of social contagion and imitation might have contributed to the effectiveness of offender profiling.
In conclusion, it is believed strongly that profiler by using information from the crime scene can consistently and correctly forecast the characters of an offender. The use of criminal profiling is supported by law enforcement agencies because it has proven effective contribution to the investigative technique for solving violence and unwarranted offences. Snook et al, (2008) explained further that in the USA a large number of police officer think that criminal profiling is very useful and it was pointed out based on a current survey of criminal profiling by 92