Are offender profiles useful in police investigations. Are Offender Profiles Useful in Police Investigations? Why/Why Not? 2022-12-08
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Offender profiles, also known as criminal profiles or psychological profiles, are used by law enforcement agencies as a tool to help identify and catch suspects in criminal investigations. These profiles are created by analyzing various pieces of evidence, such as the crime scene, victim characteristics, and any other relevant information, in order to create a hypothetical description of the offender's characteristics, behavior, and motivations.
There are several ways in which offender profiles can be useful in police investigations. For one, they can help narrow down the pool of potential suspects by providing investigators with a list of characteristics and behaviors to look for. For example, if a profile suggests that the offender is likely to be a middle-aged white male with a history of sexual assault, investigators can focus their efforts on finding individuals who fit this description.
In addition, offender profiles can also provide investigators with insight into the offender's motivations and psychological state, which can be helpful in understanding why the crime was committed and potentially predicting future behavior. This information can also be useful in constructing a case against the offender, as it can help establish a motive and provide a clearer picture of the offender's mindset at the time of the crime.
However, it is important to note that offender profiles are not always accurate and should not be relied upon as the sole source of information in an investigation. Factors such as personal bias, incomplete or unreliable information, and the subjectivity of the profiling process can all contribute to errors in the profile. Additionally, offender profiles are not always useful in cases where there is a lack of evidence or information to work with.
In conclusion, while offender profiles can be a useful tool in police investigations, they should not be relied upon as the sole source of information and should be used in conjunction with other investigative techniques. It is important for law enforcement agencies to be aware of the limitations of offender profiles and to approach their use with caution.
Are Offender Profiles Useful in Police Investigations?
Bennell and Jones 2005 reported that various linking features exist in different burglaries, and this research also supports the assumption of inter-offender behavioural variation. The prevalence of offender profiling has grown over the past three decades Snook, Eastwood, Gendreau, Goggin and Cullen, 2007 , although studies suggest that profiles have been found to be most effective as an additional tool, not as a solution to specific crimes Wilson, Lincon and Kocsis, 1997:2. Furthermore, Holmes and Holmes 2002 stress that linkage analysis systems not only can locate possible suspects from records of similar past offenses, but also can provide maximum information for psychological and geo graphic profiling efforts through confirming similar crimes. They found that approximately 40 per cent of these professionals feel the criminal investigative analysis is scientifically reliable or valid, and 86 per cent believe that offender profiling is a useful law enforcement tool Torres et al. However, the above studies indicate that the process of case linkage is not perfect and the linkage accuracy appears to vary with crime types Woodhams et al. The popularity of profiling is often seen as a measure of its success Wilson et al.
In addition, Holmes and Holmes 2002 suggest that linkage analysis can identify connections between similar crimes committed by different offenders. However, Canter argues that profiling has advantages in terms of the resources especially for some particular crimes comparing with that the police throw more and more resources at the crime hoping that 'something will turn up' Canter, 1994: 21. However, the FBI holds the point that property crimes and robberies probably are not suitable for profiling because sometimes these offences cannot reflect the personality of offenders Ainsworth, 2000. They stressed that the evidence is low to moderate to support the homology assumption. In addition, Ainsworth 2001 comments that such serious, personal contact crimes involve attacks on strangers are the most difficult cases to solve for the police. Claim - This essay points that offender profiling can be good technique to be used by police for investigations. It can be described as a strategy which enables police to establish the characteristics of an offender by examining the characteristics used in the offence Sammons, 2017.
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They concluded that in their study, there was no evidence could prove the assumption of homology according to the relationships between crime scene and rapists characteristics. In addition, their study also shows that profilers can offer richer and more detailed reports Pinizzotto and Finkel, 1990. They stressed that the evidence is low to moderate to support the homology assumption. According to Holmes and Holmes 1996 , profiling has the following three main goals: assessing the offender from social and psychological aspects, the evaluating suspected offenders relevant possessions, and consulting with law enforcement officials about some strategies when interviewing offenders. However, the FBI holds the point that property crimes and robberies probably are not suitable for profiling because sometimes these offences cannot reflect the personality of offenders Ainsworth, 2000. Police forces are always required to focus their investigative efforts to identify crimes which committed by the same offender, because the majority of the crimes come from the minority of offenders Woodhams and Toye, 2007.
Although the actual process of profiling differs from one profiler to another, the aim remains the same: to deduce the behaviour, personality, and physical characteristics of the offender Muller, 2000. In contrast, Woodhams and Toye 2007 used measures of predictive accuracy which called areas under the curve AUCs , and they found that there was high predictive accuracy in their study of burglary. Mokros and Alison 2002 studied the cases about the number of 100 British male stranger rapists which had some similarities in the crime scene actions. Moreover, Santtila, Junkkila and Sandnabba 2005 studied 43 serial stranger rape cases which occurred in Finland during the years 1983-2001, they confirm that rape 'has a consistent thematic structure' Santtila et al. Although the actual process of profiling differs from one profiler to another, the aim remains the same: to deduce the behaviour, personality, and physical characteristics of the offender Muller, 2000. Bennell and Canter 2002 analyzed 86 solved commercial burglaries committed by 43 offenders, they demonstrated that commercial burglary offenders are consistent in their burglary behaviours.
Are Offender Profiles Useful in Police Investigation. Why? Why Not?
Ainsworth 2000 suggests that murder and some serious sexual offences are the most common crimes for using offender profiling. Thinkswap has partnered with Turnitin to ensure students cannot copy directly from our resources. The clinical approach — this approach uses insights from psychiatry and clinical psychology to aid investigation where an offender is thought to be suffering from a mental illness of other psychological abnormality. Moreover, Santtila, J unkkila and Sandnabba 2005 studied 43 serial stranger rape cases which occurred in Finland during the years 1983-2001, they confirm that rape has a consistent thematic structure Santtila et al. Validities and Abilities in Criminal Profiling: The Dilemma for David Canter's Investigative Psychology. In conclusion, the future of psychological profiling and case linkage appear promising, research seems to be supporting the underling assumptions of these practices even though there have been few systematic and accurate studies to test the exact usefulness of offender profiling and case linkage.
It tends to be the case that both the findings of offender profiling and case linkage will be greatly useful for solving the offences in criminal investigations. Most police officers would seek profiling advice and case linkage because of the agreement of their usefulness. Similarly, Jackson, van Koppen, and Herbrink 1993 as cited in Snook et al. It would seem that profilers can provide more accurate profiles than nonprofilers even though some of the above researchers are reluctant to see profiling as a useful tool. Ainsworth 2000 points out that many senior detectives do not trust the usefulness of offender profiling which provided by profilers.
Are offender profiles useful in police investigations. Why / Why not?
For more information please read Studying with Academic Integrity Studying from past student work is an amazing way to learn and research, however you must always act with academic integrity. Wilson and Soothill 1996 hold the point that a profile will rarely solve a crime or catch a criminal by itself, but it is designed to be an aid to the investigating police. Crime assessment After summarizing all the information gathered in previous steps, the crime assessment is made. Another research shows that in USA, a significant portion of police officers hold the point that offender profiling has its value Trager and Brewster, 2001 as cited in Snook et al. They point out that the extent accuracy which participants perceive depending on their beliefs in profiling. This essay will discuss the underlying assumptions of both offender profiling and case linkage, and then argue the usefulness of these practices in criminal investigations. Hazelwood and Burgess 1995 claim that some serial rapes, murders, arson, child abusing are extraordinarily appropriate for profiling.
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The first one is the offender consistency hypothesis, the same with the first assumption of profiling. He will do everything on time for sure. Only 32 cases in the survey by police reported to be not helpful — meaning over 82% of cases surveyed benefitted in someway from Offender Profiling. However, Goodwill and Alison 2007 stress that the situational determinants of an offence can cause enormous variation in the way of committing the offence. Furthermore, in the earlier survey, Douglas as cited in Snook et al. Some television shows such as Millennium, Profiler and The X-Files are also based around the premise of criminal profiling.
They tested whether increased similarity in offence behaviour coincided with higher resemblance in characteristics and previous convictions. MY OWN WORDS In the study, X and X conducted a survey in Great Britain involving 184 criminal cases - From these 184 cases, only 5 lead directly to ID of offender — however, reported that the profile lead to other benefits of further understanding of the crime and offender, found in 61% of cases. Salfati and Bateman 2005 studied 94 variables relating to serial homicide offences which were obtained from police case files of the Homicide Investigation and Tracking System HITS database in Seattle, Washington of USA. Bennell and Canter 2002 studied 86 solved commercial burglaries, they found that 43 offenders had distinct behavioural features. Are offender profiles useful in police investigations? Case linkage provides a good way to collate and compare the information between related cases, thus, investigative efforts can be combined and officers can avoid the repetition of investigations.