Challenges in Crime Profiling

There are number of challenges that the law enforcement authorities encounter in profiling violent crimes. These challenges range from systemic to technical, and sometimes involving the capacity of the individual enforcers to process vital information. It is therefore necessary to understand these barriers to come up with feasible solutions when such challenges occur.

One such challenge that law enforcement authorities face is the “Digital Divide”. This simply means the lack of seamless integration of one technical system to the other. This commonly occurs when one branch of the enforcement uses different software or programming system from another branch. When the need arises for the two branches to communicate, then they would face the challenge of lack of technical integration.

However, “Digital Divide” is just a technical issue. When enforcement authorities overcome this, it is still necessary to address systemic barriers of “Linkage Barriers”. “Linkage Barriers” pertains to the incapacity of one enforcement body to effectively collaborate with another enforcement division. Basically, this barrier is present because of the innate bureaucracy in organizations (Ainsworth, 2001). Sharing of information from one division to the other is hampered by “Linkage Barriers”

It is necessary to overcome both the “ Digital Divide” and “Linkage Barriers” simultaneously. Seamless technical integration of one enforcement body to the other is useless if they still have to go through bureaucracy to obtain needed information. Likewise, a flawless collaboration between divisions is fruitless if they have no means to share information in an efficient manner.

Another challenge is “Noise”. “Noise” pertains to the capacity of the enforcer to filter the value of the raw information. This capacity is ultimately tied up to seamless technical and systemic integration between enforcement authorities. A piece of information maybe incorrectly interpreted because one enforcement body has no access to certain technical systems or because of poor collaboration an information that is of some value to one division may end up in another division who has no use of the information (Holmes, 2002).

Another barrier associated to information “Intelligence Overload”. This occurs when one enforcement body was not able to effectively filter the raw information resulting to a lot of information cluttering the investigation. This challenge is tied up to the “Noise” issue. Again, this barrier could be minimized by proper technical and systemic integration between enforcement divisions.


Ainsworth, Peter B. (2001). Offender Profiling and Crime Analysis. UK: Willan Publishing. Holmes, Ronald & Stephen Holmes (2002). Profiling Violent Crimes: An Investigative Tool. California: Sage Publications.