Offender Profiling Case Study

1561 Words7 Pages
Offender profiling is the collection of empirical data in order to compile a picture of the characteristics of those involved (Howitt 2002). Offender profiles aim to narrow down the range of possible suspects rather than solve the actual crime (Dwyer 2001). Holmes suggests that profiling is most useful when the crime scene reflects psychopathology e.g. sadistic assaults, and 90% of profiling attempts involve murder or rape. Holmes and Holmes 1996 suggested that there are three goals to offender profiling; social and psychological assessments of the offender, psychological evaluation of their belongings, and interviewing suggestions and strategies. Social and psychological assessments give information on the possible offender’s age, race, marital…show more content…
Conclusions are drawn from what is found at the scene and does not involve using a classification system from past crimes as much as the USA, making it comparatively idiographic as it doesn’t generalise criminal behaviour and focuses on the individual. The first well known case in Britain involving profiling was by David Canter who drew up an accurate profile of John Duffy – the Railway Rapist – who was responsible for 24 sexual assaults. Canter was correct about the area Duffy lived in, his age, and the fact that he had knowledge of the railway system as he worked for GB rail. He also mentioned that Duffy would have probably had a criminal record and be under arrest in the time there were no reported attacks, and it was found that Duffy did in fact rape his wife at knife point so Canter was quite…show more content…
It highlights differences between the behaviours of criminals and consistencies within the behaviour of individual offenders. Ainsworth also points out that the US ‘crime scene analysis’ has been very influential as it has been successfully used in other countries e.g. Canada and the Netherlands. It helps the police predict the level of violence and the timing of future crimes. Douglas (1981) conducted a review for the FBI on the costs and benefits of profiling. He found that although in 192 cases the suspect was identified using profiling in only 15, in 77% ‘it helped to focus the investigation’. In general the procedures used in profiling improve thoroughness and save many days work in narrowing down
Open Document