Criminal profiling of violent criminals is a technique that FBI agent John Douglas pioneered. Today, the FBI does not use the term profiling, replacing it with the term criminal analysis. The goal of criminal analysis is for the law enforcement agency or FBI to learn who the criminal is in order to apprehend the individual as soon as possible. The goal of law enforcement is to protect and to serve the public, by apprehending the perpetrator the public is safe once again.
The FBI uses profilers to help with serial rapists, kidnappers, and murderers. A profiler can get into the head of the criminal and tell things like race, age, and gender, by studying the facts of the crime. Criminals are creatures of habit and often leave specific signs or information unique to a particular crime.
The agency does not seek to learn the individual’s reasons for committing the crime, other than the fact as to why the individual does what he or she does, may help the profiler in identifying the offender. When an agent learns why a particular individual commits a particular type of crime whether it is rape, murder, child abduction, or arson it allows the profiler to “get into the criminals mind.” By getting inside the criminals mind, the profiler is one-step closer to finding the violent offender.
The profiling process according to the FBI is an investigative process and has very specific process in order to be successful. If the criminal profiler studies the crime scenes and crimes committed by the criminal and follows the investigative process, then he or she should be able to identify the violent offender’s major personality flaws and behavior characteristics. The FBI likens the process of criminal analysis or criminal profiling to the same process a doctor uses to assess and diagnose a patient in the hospital.
There are approximately seven steps to the FBI’s investigative process of criminal profiling. The first step involves the profiler studying the acts of crime initiated by the violent offender, and secondly, scrutinizing the crime scenes involved. Thirdly, any victims involved are comprehensively studied. The fourth step involves reading and analyzing police reports made of the initial crime. Next, if a death was involved the medical examiner’s autopsy protocol is then evaluated. Step 6 finds the profiler finalizing the characteristic profile of the violent offender. Finally, based on the critical characteristics of the violent offender, the profiler may make some investigative suggestions to the law enforcement team handling the investigation on how to proceed.
Criminal profiling has become an art. Although this article makes profiling sound simple and easy, it is time consuming and takes a patient and intelligent person who can place themselves in the mind of the criminal, daring to see what he or she sees in the moments of the crime itself. Any time one invites evil of this nature into your life you take a huge risk of opening a doorway to hell that one cannot always close again. Criminal profiling has its advantages, and it has its disadvantages. Regardless, it takes its toll on those willing to go into the darkness of the mind of the violent offender.