Approaches to Profiling


A-Levels PY4 (Forensic Psychology) Mind Map on Approaches to Profiling, created by Hayd23 on 16/05/2013.
Mind Map by Hayd23, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by Hayd23 almost 11 years ago

Resource summary

Approaches to Profiling
  1. The US (top-down) approach
    1. modern offender profiling began with the FBI in the US in the '70s
      1. Behavioural Science Unit began researching family backgrounds, personalities, behaviours, crimes and motives of serial killers with sexual aspects to their crimes
        1. included in-depth interviews with 36 convicted murderers
          1. however, not a representative sample; murderers are manipulative, so unrelieable
        2. FBI developed a classification system for several serious crimes, including murder and rape
          1. each 'type' of criminal displayed a different set of characteristics
            1. however, Canter (2004) found no such distinct subsets of characteristics
            2. classification was based on offenders who had been caught, who may differ from those who are still at large
            3. crime scene analysis
              1. analysis of the crime scene indicates the type of offender so the classification can be used to determine the characteristics they might have
                1. limited to crimes which leave significant evidence and are multiple offences such as serial murder, rape and arson
              2. A top-down approach
                1. crime reconstruction and profile generation are driven from 'above' by the crime scene classification
                2. far from guarantees a conviction
                  1. however, Douglas (1981) reviewed the costs and benefits of profiling; profiling rarely led directly to the offender (15 / 192 cases) but in 77% it helped to focus the investigation
                3. The British (bottom-up) approach
                  1. Canter argues that people behave consistently; their criminal behaviour reflects their normal behaviour
                    1. EG. a rapist who shows controlling / abusive behaviour towards his victims will show this traits to people in general
                    2. the victim group can be used to reveal something about the criminal
                      1. EG. Ten Bundy killed +30 students, whilst he was a student
                      2. behaviour that is uncommon can suggest that a number of crimes might have been committed by the same person
                        1. EG. apologising after a rape
                        2. Smallest Space Analysis (SSA) - based on data from many incidents; can identify the most useful crime scene evidence
                          1. Santilla (2003) found consistent patterns among juvenile fire-setters
                          2. "bottom-up" because the emphasis is on piecing together a profile from the crime scene info
                            1. Britton (1992) - profiles were neither accurate, nor contributed to arrests
                              1. however, Copson (1995) found that more than half of police officers felt it provides something extra, an 80% said the info used was useful
                                1. however, he also found that 14% said that it had assisted in solving a case, and 3% said it resulted in the identification of a suspect
                              2. British approach assumes that criminals with similar characteristics would show similar crime scene behaviour
                                1. however, Mokros & Alison (2002) found no significant correlations between characteristics such as age / previous convictions
                                  1. however, they did find important variables such as the time of day
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