Crime scene investigations are comprised of many procedures among which one important technique known as criminal profiling is used very commonly.
Contemporary crime scene investigations not only collect evidences but also hypothesize the type of person who committed the crime. Criminal profiling is a technique used during investigations in which the experts try to find out the behavioral, personality and biographical aspects of the unknown law offender.
Among other methods of criminal profiling, crime scene analysis is also an important part of the profiling process. In this process the profilers try to make investigative sense or an educated guess about the crime scene based on their past experiences and observation.
There are two important terms defined by profilers during criminal profiling. The difference between signature and modus operandi; MO of the criminal is his or her plan to carry out the crime or to accomplish his goal. On the other hand, signature is something that is for the criminal’s emotional satisfaction which is not necessary to carry out the crime.
In criminal profiling it is important for the profilers to observe the crime scene, suspects, writing report, providing court testimony and observe the human behavior. The criminal profiling depends upon the abilities of the profiler which should be visually sharp and vigilant.
Criminal profilers can also work as the lead investigators in major crimes or as consultants to other law enforcement agencies who have sought out the assistance and expertise of profilers.
History has provided many legendary profilers from the works of famous fiction writers that can help us understand the importance and role of criminal profiling in crime scene investigation. Such as Sherlock Holmes’s deductive skills have assisted us understand the vitality of details that profiler notices and interprets and others neglect.
This shows that a profiler ought to have a set of skills required to professionally generate the criminal profile. This set may include attention to details, sharp perception, good analytical and communication skills and physical fitness.
The second stage of criminal profiling is decision making. This concerns putting the gathered information into patterns or drawing a link. This helps to forms classification of murderers such as mass murderer; murder of more than three victims in one location or event.
Spree murderer is another type in which there are killings at two or more locations without any time gap or emotional period between homicides. Third classification is the serial murderer that involves three or more separate events following a similar patterns and emotional time period between the killings.
Criminal profiling is a widely used technique all over the world by investigators and profilers. But there are some limitations to the procedures of profiling along with its benefits. Criminal profiling is a source of victim protection, it provides resources for a serious crime, and it helps solve investigations and even requires no physical evidence to begin with.
But on the other hand, it is only based on assumptions and not on facts, its methods are limited and sometimes employment of unclear language may lead towards unreliable results or findings. The prediction of human behavior is not based on any factual information.
The technique of criminal profiling is helpful but it cannot be perfect as well. Nevertheless, it is proved successful in tracking down unknown criminals and solving different crimes all over the world.