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Criminal Profiling - A Viable Investigative Tool Against Violent Crime

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 55 Issue: 12 Dated: (December 1986) Pages: 9-13
J E Douglas; M Burgess
Date Published
5 pages
The criminal profiling process is defined by the FBI as a technique used to identify the perpetrator of a violent crime by identifying the personality and behavioral characteristics of the offender based upon an analysis of the crime committed.
The process generally involves (1) evaluation of the criminal act itself, (2) comprehensive evaluation of the specifics of the crime scene(s), (3) comprehensive analysis of the victim, and (4) evaluation of preliminary police reports. Additional steps are (5) evaluation of the medical examiner's autopsy protocol, (6) development of a profile with critical offender characteristics, and (7) investigative suggestions predicated on construction of the profile. Criminal profiling is particularly useful in hostage negotiation, and identification of writers of threatening letters, rapists, arsonists, and sexual murderers. The FBI's profiling program has grown very rapidly since the 1970's and now consists of one program manager and seven criminal profilers and crime analysts. They are assisted by criminal profile coordinators located at the FBI's 59 field offices. Criminal profilers at the FBI may also provide interrogation and interview techniques, establish probable cause for search warrants, and provide testimony as expert witnesses. Criminal profiling is not a substitute for skilled detective work; but it is a tool that the detective can use to help solve a violent crime. Seven references.