How Much Better is David Canter’s Model of Criminal Profiling Than That of Other Profilers

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Is the American Approach better than Canters?

The American approach to offender profiling according to Webber (2009, p42) is a method based on interviewing convicted serial killers, to see how they describe their offending. They then use that information to look at crime scenes to see what type of person might have committed the offences as mentioned previously. This style of offender profiling is associated with that of the FBI’s behavioural science unit (Webber 2009, p42).

Holmes and Holmes (2002 cited in Webber 2009, p42) assert that serial killers tend to be white males, between 25 and 34, intelligent or ‘street smart’ charming and charismatic with an interest in police work. They outline a typology of different types of serial killers. The first distinction is the spatial patterning of the murderer locations. They state that this tends to be either spatially concentrated or dispersed. These are termed geographically transient and geographically stable (Holmes and Holmes 2002 cited in Webber 2009). Dispersed murders can indicate that the killer has access to a vehicle and travels to confuse law enforcement agencies. Equally it could mean the killer drives for a living or has lived in various places suggest Holmes and Holmes (2002 cited in Webber 2009). A geographically stable serial killer tends to live in one area for some time and kills close to home. This aspect of serial killing is the key to Canter’s approach to what he terms investigative psychology (Webber 2009 p36).

The British approach

Webber (2009) puts forward that the British approach to offender profiling is based on a method that seeks to understand the actions of the criminal through the actions of ‘quantitative scientific methodologies’. This is presented ...

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