Criminal profiling is a forensic practice involving a multidisciplinary approach. Other than the knowledge of criminalities and death investigation, it also requires a deep understanding of basic human as well as criminal psychology. It thus entails a mutli-pronged approach to profile unknown criminals and offenders by studying the nature of offence, how it was perpetrated and ascertaining the psychological motives behind such an act. Along with the various evidences of crime, it relies on a thorough understanding of mental and psychological disorders to create a profile of the offender.
It is a useful tool in the field of law enforcement as it provides vital clues in eliminating doubt in case of missing or conflicting evidences. Although circumstantial evidence is essential in the identification of a criminal, sometimes these do not provide enough grounds for foolproof identification and conviction of a criminal. A crime is committed by people with intentions and the juxtaposition of clues along with the intention provides a better lead in the identification of criminal than the dependence of physical evidence alone.
However, integral to studying the usefulness of criminal profiling is the need to evaluate its efficacy in segregating the subjective responses with the objective reality. This is broadly done in stages where first the conception and intent of crime is investigated, followed by the intent on the selection of the victim, the manner of committing the crime and finally the post crime experience/behaviour of the victim. Criminal profiling essentially employs both inductive and deductive reasoning.
While in the deductive profiling based on known aspects of psychological disorders, the criminal profiling follows naturally and logically, it is imperative that in the inductive method o identifying the psychological profile of the criminal, the subjective conclusion be validated in accordance with the actual facts and physical evidence available. Statistical attribution of previous causes and cases for similar crimes should be done with leaving a grey area which should be filled as and when more evidences become available (Turvey & Diego, 1999).
There are some red herrings involved and the territory lighted by criminal profiling needs to be treaded with utmost caution. Cases have been observed where the early criminal profiling has led to wrong suspects with later evidence revealing the misguided direction in which the case was led due to criminal profiling. Criminal profiling is a tool which aids in criminal investigation and should not be used for hasty identification of criminals. The physical evidence and the process of criminal profiling should proceed together and not in isolation.
While on its own it may not provide foolproof grounds of conviction, when taken in the light of physical evidence and deconstruction of intent and circumstances leading to the crime, it provides an aid in the investigation(Douglas, 2001). Two similar crimes when deconstructed through criminal profiling may reveal the nature of the criminal as a vengeful perpetrator of evil or as a victim of circumstances upon which the severity of the punishment can be decided.
The laws and judiciary themselves give due attention to the intent behind a crime and the criminal profiling gives valuable insights into the psychological make-up of the criminal and hence the severity of punishment that needs to be administered for the crime. The process of criminal profiling thus provides valuable insights into the intention behind the crime and the criminal court must take it into consideration alongwith the physical evidences in ruling the conviction order of the offender. References Turvey, Brent & Diego, M.
S. San(1999). Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis. The American Journal of Psychiatry. Retrieved July 5, 2009, from http://ajp. psychiatryonline. org/cgi/content/full/157/9/1532 Douglas, John E. (2001). Violent Crime Scene Analysis: Modus Operandi, Signature, and Staging. Retrieved July 5, 2009, from http://www. criminalprofiling. com/Violent- Crime-Scene-Analysis-Modus-Operandi,-Signature,-and-Staging_s143. html http://www. mtholyoke. edu/~mlyount/MySites/ForensicPsychology/CriminalProfiling. html