Discuss approaches to profiling
There are three approaches to criminal profiling; the British approach, the US approach and Geographical Profiling. The US approach is a top down approach which means they start with the big parts of the case and work down to the smaller things involved. The approach was invented by the FBI in the 1970’s when they first looked at the family backgrounds, personalities, behaviours, crimes and motives of serial killers who had sexual aspects to their crimes. They then went on to use in-depth interviews with 36 serial killers. The information they gathered from this and the FBI’s experience and intuition they developed the classification system. This classification is why the US approach is a top-down approach. There are stages to the US Approach which are; data assimilation, crime scene classification, crime reconstruction and profile generation. Data assimilation is where all the data is collected from the crime scene, e.g. pictures, autopsy, witness reports etc. crime scene classification is the second stage and is where evidence is used to put the crime into a typology. There are two types of murders; organised and disorganised and four types of rape which are power-reassurance, power-assertive, anger-retaliatory and anger-excitement. Crime reconstruction is where hypotheses are developed about what the offender and victim did and the sequence of events based on the reconstruction. Profile generation is the final stage and is where the offenders profile is developed, usually including an age range, ethnicity and social class, type of work, habits and personality. A strength of the US approach is that it has helped investigators to find criminals. An example of where the US approach has helped to catch a criminal is the Arthur Shawcross case where profilers Grant and McCrary developed an identical profiler to the killer which led to his arrest and conviction. This shows that the US approach works effectively. A weakness of the...
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