Criminal Profiling

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The process of using behavioral evidence left at a crime scene to make inferences about the offender, including inferences about personality characteristics and psychopathology is called criminal profiling. Around the country, several agencies rely on the minds of criminal psychologists to lead them in the right direction to finding the correct offender. Criminal profiling provides investigators with knowledge of the appearance and behavior of a potential criminal.

Criminal profilers are primarily employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, most commonly known as the FBI. (Walker) The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID), and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) are a few other agencies that also employ criminal profilers. Although there are other employers that hire criminal profilers, the FBI is the most prominent. In order to be considered as a potential member of these programs, having an advanced degree in behavioral or forensic science is recommended. However, the most important qualification is an agent’s overall experience as an investigator of violent crimes. John Douglas, a famous FBI profiler, believes that “degrees and academic knowledge [are not] nearly as important as experience and certain subjective qualities” (Muller 250). Since a specific degree program has yet to be created for criminal profiling, extra training and classes must be taken in order to be a profiler for the FBI. The FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit was formed to investigate serial rape and homicide cases in 1974. From 1976 to 1979, several FBI agents, most famously John Douglas and Robert Ressler, interviewed 36 serial killers to help develop theories and categorize different types of offende...

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... 2008. 277-290. Print.

Douglas, John E., and Mark Olshaker. Obsession: The FBI's legendary profiler probes the psyches of killers, rapists, and stalkers and their victims and tells how to fight back. New York, NY: Scribner, 1998. 16-41. Print.

Duggan, Joe. "The search for Helen Wilson's killer continues." Beatrice Daily Sun 17 Oct. 2008: n. pag. Beatrice Daily Sun. Web. 1 Apr. 2011.

McGrath, Michael G. "Criminal Profiling: Is There a Role for the Forensic Psychiatrist?." Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 28. (2000): 315-324. Web. 13 Apr 2011.

Muller, Damon A. "Criminal Profiling ." Homicide Studies 4.3 (2000): 234-364. Web. 9 Apr 2011.

Walker, Jeffery T., Ronald G. Burns, Jeffrey Bumgarner, and Michele P. Bratina. "Federal Law Enforcement Careers: Laying the Groundwork." Journal of Criminal Justice 19.1 (2008): 110-135. Web. 20 Apr 2011.
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