Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses the Criminal Profiling Process

Aside from solving crimes, what do the 1990s television show Law & Order: Criminal Intent, the 2005 television series Criminal Minds, and the 1991 film Silence of the Lambs have in common? A Jacksonville criminal attorney observes that the protagonists solved the crimes using criminal profiling.

What is Criminal Profiling?

Criminal profiling, also known as offender profiling, is a behavioral and investigative tool intended to help investigators to accurately predict and profile the characteristics and mindset of unknown criminal subjects or offenders.

How Does It Work?

Almost every factor related to a crime is used in criminal profiling, such as:

  • Forensic evidence;
  • Crime scene characteristics; and,
  • Victim characteristics.

There are multiple steps involved in criminal profiling:

  • Gather all the information.
  • Answer relevant questions with the evidence.
  • Collect the personality through the criminal’s behavior:
    • Antecedent – fantasies and plans the criminal had prior to the crime;
    • Method and manner – the way the criminal committed the crime;
    • Body disposal – whether the body remained or was removed from the crime scene;
    • Post-offense behavior – the criminal’s actions after the crime was committed.
  • Case linkage or linking analysis – process of determining whether or not there are discrete connections between two or more previously unrelated cases through crime analysis.
  • Create the criminal profile – age, race, sex, physiological characteristics, religious beliefs, intelligence, mental stability, etc.

Does It Work?

A Jacksonville criminal attorney understands the benefits to criminal profiling, but also the dangers of relying too much on criminal profiling. Incorrect information from profiling could lead to false positives or negatives. At times, investigators may find a suspect who appears to fit an incorrect profile and ignore or stop investigating other leads.
Another problem is the lack of solid empirical evidence to support its use by investigators or in the courtroom. Several studies or scientific tests revealed that those specialized in criminal profiling did not do any better than those people that did not have this specialized training.

Contact a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney

For more information, contact a Jacksonville criminal attorney with Canan Law at (904) 824-9402.

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