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Psychological Profiling and Crime Scene Behavioral Analysis

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 49 Issue: 1 Dated: (January 1982) Pages: 152-159
D Rossi; R E Vorpagel
Date Published
8 pages
Procedures for collecting data and developing psychological profiles of offenders from crime scene investigation are discussed, with particular attention to sex crimes.
The development of the psychological profile of a particular offender is based upon data derived from the crime scene, which provides objective clues to the offender's behavior. The accuracy of the profile developed from the crime scene analysis depends not only upon the amount and clarity of the data, but upon the knowledge and experience of the person or persons developing the profile from the given data. To aid in the development of psychological profiles of offenders who commit sex crimes, Michigan has developed a sex-motivated crime file statutorily mandated to contain a crime report on each accused person for whom a warrant has been issued for a sex-motivated crime. The Investigative Resources Unit of the State police uses and provides data from the files, along with information from a particular crime scene, to develop psychological profiles of offenders in each case. Crime scene indicators of sexual homicide are (1) evidence of sexual assault, (2) position and attire of the victim, (3) injuries and body mutilations, and (4) evidence of sadistic fantasy. A profile can also be built from the general character of the crime scene, according to whether it is unaltered and disorganized, or concealed and altered by the offender in an effort to obscure or hide what happened. Not all cases lend themselves to profiling. Characteristics of cases amenable to profiling are listed.