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Midterm 2 Text Notes.docx

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McMaster University
Richard B Day

What is a criminal profile? Defined by John Douglas as: - a technique for identifying the major personality and behavioural characteristics of an individual based upon an analysis of the crimes he or she has committed - most commonly used in serial homicide and rape - extreme forms of psychopathology – sadistic torture and ritualistic behavior - proposes: o help set traps to flush out an offender o determine whether a threatening note should be taken seriously o give advice on how best to interrogate a suspect o tell prosecutor how to break down defendants in cross-exanimation - David Canter founded investigative psychology - process of profile equation (by Pinizzotto and Finkel) o WHAT + WHY = WHO o Too vague to be useful VICLAS – the violent crime linkage analysis system. Developed by the RCMP to collect and analyze information on serious crimes from across Canada Linkage blindness – an inability on the part of the police to link geographically dispersed serial crimes committed by the same offender because of a lack of information sharing among police agencies Deductive criminal profiling – profiling the background characteristics of an unknown offender based on evidence left at the crime scenes by that particular offender - based on logical reasoning, although it still may not be accurate Inductive criminal profiling – profiling the background characteristics of an unknown offender based on what we know about other solved cases - problem with sampling issues; hard to draw representative sample of characteristics you’re trying to find The Organized/Disorganized model needs to be refined in order to account for the offenders that display both kinds of behaviours Validity of Profiling - many officers find it useful but has its limitations; it shouldn’t be used as evidence in court, and shouldn’t be used for all types of crimes, and it has potential to seriously mislead an investigation 3 main criticisms: - many forms of profiling are based on a theoretical model that lacks empirical support - many profiles (24%) have very vague and ambiguous information – can fit many suspects - professional profiles may be no better than unstrained individuals o mixed results here Kocsis study - the collective skills of profilers are superior to the individual skills represented by each of the comparison groups Classic trait model – a model of personality that assumes the primary determinants of behavior are stable, internal traits - represent consistent patterns of behavior over time and situations - ie. An “organized” offender would be organized consistently throughout different crimes and ordinary lifestyle (always) - disagreement comes from those who state personality traits are not the only or even primary determinants of behavior (situation is also important) Geographic Profiling Geographic profiling – an investigative technique that uses crime scene locations to predict the most likely area where an offender resides - usually used for serial homicide and rape, but also use seldomly in robbery, arson, and burglary - those that live closest to predicted home location would
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