CRIM 454 Study Guide - Fall 2019, Comprehensive Final Exam Notes - Sexual Assault, Offender Profiling, Homicide

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30 Mar 2019
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CRIM 454
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CRIM 454: Criminal profiling
Week 1: Historical background of profiling: facts and fiction
Criminal profiling in fiction
- From Sherlock Holmes to Clarice Starling the Silence of the Lambs effect
- (push people to apply to criminology programs because of fiction TV shows and wanting to be
criminal profilers)
- proliferation of TV shows depicting an unrealistic image of criminal profiling (e.g., CSI,
Millennium, Profiler, Cracker)
o what is depicted in shows aren’t realistic and that’s not what they actually do at work
Criminal profiling in fiction
- produced myths that are accepted as true facts and provided students with a misrepresentation
of criminal profiling
- 3 myths:
- 1) one of the first myths is that criminal profilers are the ones that solve the case, so we see that
profilers are called to investigations when the investigating is falling or going no where which
is right but however, what is wrong is that profilers solve the case not the investigators
- 2) another myth is that has been portrayed in this TV shows and movies is that analyzing
scientific evidence takes only a few minutes showing how quickly scientific evidence is
analyzed in reality it takes much longer and evidences are not easily recovered.
- 3) Three myth depicted by TV shows is the fact that profilers are some kind of psychic they can
see in their head this imagine of what actually happened at the crime scene it’s a little bit like
they are seeing a movie or they were able to reconstruct in their head exactly what happened
between the offender and the victim and once again this is not true
Criminal profiling in fiction
- function of profiling has been around for over 100 years…
- more aware of this in recent past than back in the 90s or even the 1999 when the movie Silence
of the Lambs came out, but when we are looking at history we can see that this has been around
for a while
The pioneers
- Dr. Thomas Bond
o Profile of Jack the Ripper (1888)
- Dr. Walter Langer
o Profile of Adolph Hitler (1943)
o One of his task was to predict what Hitler’s behaviour was if the Allies are making
progress, when he committed suicide, when he surrendered, the profile produced
helped to anticipate what Hitler’s next move would be
- Dr. James Brussel
o Probably the most famous profiler
o Profile of the Mad Bomber (George Metesky; 1950’s) and the Boston Strangler (Albert
DeSalvo; 1960s)
o James Brussel actually predicted that George Metesky would be arrested, he would
wear a double breasted-suit, buttoned this fact made Brussel very famous
o Now that we look at the work recently, it is important to look at the work from the FBI
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- The FBI: National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime
o They were the one that actually introduced criminal profiling to the world and they
were also the one who provided training to most profilers who are still active today
What is criminal profiling?
1) Offender profiling is an investigative technique which uses crime scene characteristics to
generate probable descriptive information about behaviours and personality of an offender,
narrowing the field of suspects and aiding in apprehension efforts
2) This investigative tool involves the analysis of an offender’s behaviour during the enactment of
his crime in order to infer some of his personal characteristics
3) A profile should represent an educated attempt to provide investigative agencies with specific
information as to the type of individual who committed a certain crime
Use of criminal profiling
- Criminal profiling should help the investigator to answer the following questions:
o What happened at the crime scene?
o What type of person is most likely to have done this?
o What are the most likely personality characteristics of such an individual?
Assumptions of criminal profiling
- According to Holmes and Holmes, originally there were four assumptions of criminal profiling:
o The crime scene reflects the personality of the offender;
o The method of operation (modus operandi) remains similar;
o The signature will remain the same;
o The offender’s personality will not change
Assumptions of criminal profiling
- Crime scene reflects the personality of the offender
- (imagine two offenders at the crime scene and they have different personality, how would this
affect the crime scene? So is it possible that what we see at the crime scene doesn’t reflect the
personality of the offender?)
Assumptions of criminal profiling
- method of operation (modus operandi) remains similar;
o (others say this doesn’t change from crime to crime)
o (ask yourself: is that really the case?)
o (recent research has shown that actually the modus operandi DOES change, so some
offenders will adapt their modus operandi for different reasons, sometimes for
situational reasons, sometimes they just change from time to time and learning better
ways to commit their crimes so they are adapting, to assume that M.O is the same is not
right)
Assumptions of criminal profiling
- signature will remain the same;
- (the signature of the crime remains the same)
- (what is the difference between the signature of the crime and M.O signature will be cover
later in the sem)
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