Profiling Essay

Profiling Essay

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One area of psychology and investigation, (an occupation? or shall I say craft?), many ways to refer and interpret it, with a complex past intermingling various areas of study, Profiling, like any other area of study, has both its advantages and disadvantages. Yet, how useful is it as an investigative tool? It certainly isn’t considered as a hard science, however this does not mean that is should be discarded and not taken seriously. Or does it?

I say advantages and disadvantages, because whilst my personal position is towards profiling in general, it can only be used in conjunction with other, more deeply studied police work. Here I will discuss mainly its advantages and why I hold the position in favor of criminal profiling, but some disadvantages will obviously be mention in relation the advantages.

As asserted by Wilson and Seaman (2007), one of the first psychological profilers was James A. Brussel, M.D in the 1950, then dubbed “The Sherlock Holmes of the Couch.” Although he was very accurate in providing the police with a profile of the criminal which helped them locate and arrest the Mad Bomber, using primarily his handwriting on letters sent to the police, his “technique was not enough in itself to change traditional law enforcement procedures.” (Wilson and Seaman, 2007). It was only in the early 1970s that the FBI Behavioral Science Unit in Quantico decided to use this profiling technique when investigating violent crimes. Here, they would profile the type of criminal involved using the crime scene itself and the various criminal MOs. Their initial investigation using this method was held in 1974 with the case of the kidnapped seven-year old girl, Susan Jaeger. Profilers predicted the kidnapper being a young, whi...


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...nalytical Theory. Turvey (2001) points of the voyeurism problem and affirms that this fact alone might be a magnet for so-called profilers to join the field. This, of course, will create problems for all involved in the case. Here, another setback to profiling is formed which might reduce the profiler’s ‘expertise’, for how can on be certain of the real intention of a profiler and his compatibility to the team?

Having said all this, one can say that in reality, profiling is an art and not a science, as “by itself, a profile does not solve any crime” (Holmes and Holmes, 2009). That is, however, not said to reduce all its credibility and usefulness. Profilers have helped the police and it most likely that will continue to do so in the future, but it must be kept strictly as an aid and not as the only means. But yes, all in all, it is a useful investigative tool.

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