Criminal Profile Case Assessment Guidebook

Criminal Profile Case Assessment Guidebook


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Criminal Profile Case Assessment Guidebook

Criminal profiling has been for many years used in courts to solve criminal cases. Criminal profiling is referred in other cases as offender profiling and is a practice applying to several disciplines. However, efficacy of its basic application has been debated, and it is still considered controversial and inconsistent (Ebisike, 2007). Ebisike confidently denotes that despite the increasing interest for using it in criminal proceedings, the technique is somehow sensitive, and many legal practitioners never understand its use.

Different scholars have defined criminal profiling in various different ways, but the rationale is very similar. Ainsworth (2001) explained criminal profiling as the use of information that is available regarding a crime including the scene as well as the victim to sketch a rough profile of the likely offender. The firm basis of its application is a basic assumption that an offender with specific attributes is likely to have perpetrated a given crime of a particular nature.

The rationale behind the idea is that an individual’s behavior reflects personality (McCrary & Ramsland, 2003). Thus, the profiler might determine the type of individual who committed a crime based on their operation method. The method of operation may lead to clues critical in solving a case. The profiler might note information about the offender. For instance, this might include their age group, race, and attitude.

The criminal profiling process includes profiling inputs, crime scene analysis, criminal profile, decision process model, and finally investigation and apprehension.

Profiling Inputs

This involves the gathering of the necessary information that is readily available on the crime including witness statements, victim’s reports, police reports, as well as physical evidence. The rationale that stands behind it is to equip the profiler with the necessary tools with which to form a firm background of the investigation. McCrary also noted that when collecting such information, for example in homicides, profilers should use four phases of questioning. The phases include:

Antecedent: This is the examination of a preceding circumstance leading to the actions of the offender. The main query that might be asked in this case is: What plan was in the criminal’s mind before taking the offence? What was the motivation that prompted the offender to act on that day and not another?

Manner and method: The headline question is; In what way did the offender execute the crime? What type of victims was targeted by a person?Body disposal: How did the offender change scenes when committing the crime (e.g., murder)? Did both the disposal and the murder occur at the same place?

Post-Offense tendencies: Does the offender trail the investigation? Is the offender following up on the investigation or even attempting to reach the investigators for any testimonials?

Turvey (2002) opined that, case linkage should be another phase of criminal profiling whereby possible connections are usually made between the case and previous unrelated cases. This involves examination of both cases, while taking into consideration certain characteristics that would be applicable for the cases.

Decision Process Models

This is a pre-qualified theoretical procedure of going about various scenarios whenever approaching any criminal case. With a simple decision process, a profiler will possess an input-output theory translating the facts of the cases into a detailed hypothesis. This is the stage where profiling develops patterns as well as meaningful questions into the input-output model. For example, a trial to establish the possible time that the offender might have been taken to undertake a felony. This might eventually offer a link to the suspected time that was spent on previous similar cases that have offenders who may or may not be known to show whether the same criminal may have been involved.

Crime Scene Assessment

The basic rationale behind crime scene assessment does not only include the physical contents but also a form of all its contents. The crime scene might sometimes contain lots of physical evidence but then the profiler may be interested in only the manner that the perpetrator handled the scene during the occurrence of the crime. That provides a profiler with an overview of the best way to approach the profiling procedure. It is assumed to be the most essential step as the profiler will only attempt to reconstruct the direction of the criminal’s behavior. The profiler will then classify the likely offender on the basis of the facts present at the scene of the crime. The aim is to ascertain the weapon used as well as the kind of injuries evident, for homicidal cases.

Criminal Profile

The underlying principle behind ascertaining the criminal profile is determining whether the subject may have been implicated in any other different but similar case. It assists to narrow down on the case for reasons such as better focusing. This is the stage where the profiler builds up an initial description of the most probable suspects. The actual criminal profile is later formulated and the likely methods of apprehending the unidentified perpetrator suggested. According to Douglas et al. (1986) an offender profile includes information such as the likely age, height, gender, race, marital status, education, location, job type, criminal record, military background, sexual life and use of drugs or alcohol.

Investigation and Apprehension

The validation behind insertion of this stage is duly to connect the criminal profile that has been generated to the investigation in order to determine whether it can be reliable to the case or not. The profiler thus generates a report that is used by the investigation so as to concentrate and focus the investigation to all the content presented by the profile report as well as match the profile to all the possible suspects. In the case a suspect is interviewed after apprehension, the criminal profile is reviewed and also evaluated in order to determine its reliability.


In conclusion, criminal profiling can be viewed as a criminal investigative solution that widely used whenever a case involves the lack of physical evidence. It always seeks to use probabilistic tendencies in order to help identify an unknown criminal or offender through the examination of their psychological and behavioral aspects. Profiles never identify the perpetrator of a crime per se. Instead, it describes all the characteristics of the person who is probably thought to have committed that crime. However, any wrong interpretation by a profiler might compromise the entire direction of the investigation because the investigators might rely on it and frustrate the entire process. The entire process of criminal profiling should always be performed at the beginning of the supposed investigation in order to avoid the chances of change of evidence on the scene of the crime.


Ainsworth, B. P. (2001). Offender Profiling and Crime Analysis. Portland: Willan Publishing

Douglas, E. J., Ressler, K. R., Burgess, W. A. & Hartman. R. C. (1986). Criminal Profiling From

Crime Scene Analysis, Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 4(4). 301-456.Ebisike, N. (2007). The Use of Offender Profiling in Criminal Cases. Theses and Dissertations,

Paper 23.McCrary, G. O. & Ramsland, K. (2003). The Unkown Darkness: Profiling the Predators Among

Us. (New York, NY)

Turvey, B. (2002). Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis. 2nd ed.

(San Diego, SA) Academic press.