Criminal Profiling 1. Profiling involves allowing the physical evidence to reveal to an investigator what behaviors occurred, then thinking about what was intended by the commission of those behaviors. It has been proven time and time again that the majority of investigators are chronically unable to overcome their perspective when faced with one or
more disturbing violent crime scenes. How do you feel the investigative community can overcome these negative outcomes.
more disturbing violent crime scenes. How do you feel the investigative community can overcome these negative outcomes.
Profiling is continuously used in the revealing to the investigators the behaviors that occurred at the scene of a crime. It has been successful in some instances leading to the apprehension of the culprits while in some instances, profiling has failed to lead conclusively to the apprehension of the actual culprits concerning a particular crime. One particularly important reason for this is that there are mistakes in the profiling process, which include confirmation bias, post hoc thinking, and even mistaken or spurious correlation for causation. While these problems prevail in many profiling cases, the majority of investigators are chronically unable to overcome their biases resulting in at times irreversible investigative errors (Rossmo, 2012). In response to such scenarios, this section dwells on some of the strategies that would help the mentioned investigative failures.
The first strategy involves encouraging the investigators to express alternative and at times unpopular points of view. One of the problems in investigative processes and criminal profiling specifically is that the bureaucratic process in investigations inhibits the expression of personal perspectives, and when at times such perspectives are offered, they are quickly challenged. The continued structured shooting down of unpopular points of view leads to perennial repetition of errors in the investigative. When an unpopular or alternative point of view is aired, it would be important for the investigative leader to assign the role to a strong team member to ensure that it is well looked into and to eliminate investigative biases (Rossmo, 2012).
The second strategy for the analysis of evidence and crime profiling processes is the use of subgroups in the same case. On many cases, a particular group of investigators handles a case for long periods, exhausts their ideas and perspectives, and is still expected to deliver by arraigning a culprit in court, which at times results in the wrongful prosecutions. Instead of following the old path in investigations, it would be important to consider the involvement of parallel subgroups to a particular case. The subgroups would help in providing different points of view to a particular case and on many occasions, the independent thinking would help in quickly ironing out the grey areas in the investigation (Rossmo, 2012).
The third strategy would be the invitation of expert opinions and external reviews into the investigations. This should take place at appropriate points in the investigative process, and the government should allocate more funds to accommodate the compensation of experts. On many occasions, experts are only involved in court proceedings and not during the investigative procedures. This means that by the time the experts are involved, crucial evidence has already disappeared. Involving the expert opinions at the beginning of criminal profiling would greatly help in ensuring that errors in arrests and prosecution are reduced (Rossmo, 2012).
The other strategy that can be employed in reducing the profiling errors is by encouraging research in criminal investigative failures and how they might be prevented. The research ought to be commissioned by the various players in the criminal justice system.
Actual case studies looking into the prosecuted persons against the profiles used to prosecute them would be a good starting point for the determination of some of the common errors in profiling.
Research has been observed to solve problems in various fields and therefore commissioning research in this area would help in ensuring that in the least, empirical evidence is employed in confirming the assertion that there are prevalent profiling errors.
Most importantly, empirical evidence from research ensures that profiling is not demonized in its entirety and that only the areas with many errors are eliminated from the profiling procedures. One particularly important area of interest would be the association of violent crimes with race as happens in several situations (Rossmo, 2012).
2. Explain the role Locard’s Principle plays in criminal profiling. Locard’s principle, also referred to as Locard’s Exchange Principle, is a theory in forensic science. The theory states that whenever a person commits a crime, the person leaves behind some important item of evidence at the crime scene and at the same time; the person takes away an important item of evidence that was not at the crime scene before the crime was committed Chisum & Turvey, 2000).
The leaving and taking of evidence from the crime scene forms an important part of crime scene reconstruction, and it is this reconstruction that helps in crime profiling. The extension of this theory indicates that any form of interference with the scene of crime can interfere with the exchange principle.
It is the reason why the persons reporting a crime must limit interference to the minimum and that the investigators limit changes to the crime scene in their gathering of evidence (Chisum & Turvey, 2000).
Locard’s Principle is of critical importance in profiling. This is one of the reasons why it must be well understood by all investigators. The essence of the principle in its entirety is that it provides the opportunity for the apprehension of the culpable persons involved in the crime. This can only happen if the evidence at the scene of crime is not interfered with. Secondly, this happens if the investigators understand the theory. Thirdly, limited interference with the crime scene happens when the public has lessons on how to handle the crime scene. This necessitates the importance of ensuring that the public gets an education on how to handle the crime scenes and this is one of the very important roles of Locard’s Principle (Knox, 2012).
While the understanding of this principle is important for the public, it is important to note that among the groups that have adequately learned how to apply the principle are the criminals. This because most criminals, especially violent criminals, have learned the importance of ensuring that there is a limited exchange of evidence. It is for this reason that criminals will use gloves and another mechanism to limit the amount of information left at the crime scene. The importance of this information is that it helps the investigators to know that they must closely look for any little evidence that the criminals leave at the crime scene and how the little evidence may be affected by external elements and time (Chisum & Turvey, 2000).
The last most important thing about Locard’s principle regards the concern of planted evidence and how the investigators ought to differentiate such evidence from all other evidence. One of the major mistakes committed by investigators is that they are likely to get carried away by planted evidence and forget to look into the most convincing items of evidence. The Locard’s principle aims at ensuring only the right culprits are apprehended and for that, the investigators must ensure that they conduct intensive and extensive evidence examination to ensure positive confirmation and identification of the profiled personalities (Advances in Policing-New Technologies for Crime Analysis, 2015).
3. Explain in detail how the technology of Geographical Profiling as evolved over the past 20 years and how it is being used successfully today by law enforcement. Geographic profiling refers to the type of profiling that focuses on the probable spatial behavior of the offender based on the context of location and concerning various crime scenes.
The geographical profiling conceptual framework recognizes that offenders are most likely to select certain victims according to their locations and proximity to their homes (Turvey, 2011). For instances, rape is most likely to be committed by an offender close to the victim of the crime.
The same case apples to cases of rape, arson, and even robberies. Of course, there are similar crimes that are likely to be committed by people not related to the victims but on many occasions; this will not be the case.
Notably, this information is applied to cases taking place in multiple locations and has been used to positively link offenders to crime scenes. Geographic profiling of offenders is a concept that was developed by the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University in response to large-scale capital crimes investigations.
As a technique in criminal profiling, geographic profiling of offenders had helped in ensuring that multiple crimes offenders or criminals who have committed multiple crimes are profiled and identified positively and at the same time charged with multiple crimes.
The most important observation about geographic crime profiling is that it allows the investigators to narrow down the scope of investigations to particular areas of investigations on geographic locations. For instance, offenders who have attacked people with an identifiable geographic location can be identified.
In some instances, offenders such as robbers may continuously focus on a particular geographic region and through geographic profiling and research, it is possible for investigators to predict and avert crimes.
These observations have been used to show the extent to which profiling contributes to the solving of crimes (Turvey, 2011). Geographic profiling technologies have improved tremendously over the past few years.
This comes with the development of GIS and GPS technologies that aid in the mapping of crime zones and aid in the characterization of crimes. As a matter of fact, mobile telephony combined with GPS technologies as well as GIS technologies continued to aid investigators not only in the solving of serial crimes but also in positively placing the offenders within the crime scene or in areas with proximity to the crime scenes.
In some instances, offenders follow their victims from places such as clubs and shopping malls and through the GPS technologies, the investigators can observe trends and as a result, they can solve various crimes.
In other words, this paper seeks to indicate that there are a myriad of ways through which investigations are supported by geo-mapping technologies that have extended the understanding of geographic profiling of crimes and offenders (Turvey, 2011).
To provide a better understanding of the geographic profiling concept, it is important to note some of the mechanisms indicating the current developments in geographic crime profiling. The first is example involves the identification of the victim and offender’s journey to the crime. The routine activity of the offenders and the victims are also positively identified and thirdly, the crime patterns are easily identified using this technology. Through this, the technology is used in solving both serial isolated or single crimes. From the traditional perspective of the theory’s applicability to profiling in serial crimes, geographic profiling applies in the crime pattern theory and the rational choice theory. The theory is increasingly becoming one of the most important theories in modern profiling owing to its application of everyday technologies such as mobile phones and computers (Fintzy, 2000).
4. Discuss the profile of a Serial Arsonist. Provide an example of a criminal case where arson was used as a precautionary act (choose a case that is not in your textbook). Turvey, 2011-Criminal Profiling
The profile of a serial arsonist would include markers of skills fire setting. Firstly, there is the issue of property targeting. A serial arsonist sets fire on targeted buildings. The buildings will in a few occasions be randomly picked but on many occasions, the buildings are specific. The serial arson crime scenes show evidence of elaborate incendiary devices such as electronic mechanisms. There may be evidence of less forcible entry like there being no evidence of breakage or even going off the fire alarms (White, 2016).
In houses or property with fire system, there may be evidence of interference with the work of the systems such as interference with the smoke detection system and at times, the disconnection of water supply. This indicates that the offender is organized and probably even professionally trained or learned about fire systems. The other indicator would be the starting point of fires as well as well as the method used in setting off fires. For instance, a serial offender with the likelihood of considering people with the fires may start fires in along all the access roots as well as points where the beginning of the fire has the greatest impact (White, 2016).
Other than the profile mentioned above, the serial arsonist may have the knowledge of the more flammable initiators such as gas and gasoline. Mixtures of the components used in initiating the fires may also be good indicators as well as the presence of clothing and other materials likely to cause fires. The time of reporting relative to the damage caused by the fire may also be a good indicator of the serial arson element with fires causes by serial arsonists destroying a lot of property before being discovered and reported (Arsonist Profile, 2016).
An example of a serial arson case is where the arsonists target properties that are located in a particular neighborhood. The targeting of buildings located within a particular neighborhood applies to geographic profiling.
The building may have particular characteristics such as the particular type of paint used in the construction of the building. Some paints are more flammable than others are, and a serial arsonist would know this.
The other perspective concerning a case of a serial arsonist is where precautionary measures employed. The serial arsonist is likely to skillfully interfere with the fire safety system or smoke detection system in the property.
This means that the system does not initiate the process of putting out the fire upon detection. They may be tampered a long time before the day or time of igniting the fire.
In some instances, the arsonists will make the fire appear as an accident by ensuring that it starts at strategic points in the house where electronics and other materials that are easy to ignite are located.
If the owner of the property has an ashtray in the house, it is possible for a serial arsonist to attempt and show that the fire started from the point where the ashtray was placed.
In some instances, the serial arsonists may just leave the gas leaking to fill the house by the time the owner get home and puts the lights on. In other words, there are several precautionary measures that the serial arsonist can employ to ensure that the fire looks like an accident (Arsonist Profile, 2016).