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Criminal Profiling, Book Review Example

Pages: 2

Words: 414

Book Review

In the book “Profiling Violent Crimes,” the authors describe several key goals of Criminal Profiling. These goals also serve to define what Criminal Profiling is, as well as what it is not.

The first goal of Criminal Profiling is to provide criminal justice workers with key information about possible suspects in specific crimes. When developing an investigation, certain key elements may be helpful in narrowing the focus of the investigation. The profiler will compile an assessment of the “personality, race, age range, employment, religion, marital status, (and) education” of the possible culprit (Holmes & Holmes, 2009). It is important to differentiate a Criminal Profile from an Intelligence Profile, which contains key demographic information about a specific suspect or group of suspects (Kocsis, 2006).

The other two primary goals come into play after a suspect has been identified. The second goal of the profiler is to compile a psychological assessment of the suspect’s belongings, such as “trophies” taken from victims or materials used in the planning or commission of the crime. The third goal is to update the original psychological assessment with more specific information about the suspect gleaned after his or her identification and arrest. Both goals allow interrogators to more effectively plan strategies for suspect interviews and other aspects of the investigation methods (Holmes & Holmes, 2009).

According to “Profiling Violent Crimes,” Criminal Profiling is as much an art as it is a science (Holmes & Holmes, 2009), though others caution that it is necessary to ensure that any effort at profiling adheres to rigorous scientific methods. In his book “Criminal Profiling,” author Brent E. Turvey warns against the possibility of a profiler allowing emotion and prejudice to color his or her assessments; he refers to this potential pitfall as “faith-based profiling” (Turvey, 2008). Because of this possibility, Criminal Profiling has its detractors, and even its staunchest supporters recognize that it is not appropriate in all cases or for all crimes. It may be best suited for crimes such as murder, rape, and arson, among others (Holmes & Holmes, 2009)).

Despite its possible shortcomings, Criminal Profiling has proven itself to be an effective strategy in some cases, though it is important to remember that it is simply one of many tools in the investigative arsenal (Holmes & Holmes, 2009).

References

Holmes, R.M., & Holmes, S.T. (2009). Profiling violent crimes. United States: Sage Publications.

Koscis, R. (2006). Criminal profiling: principles and practice. Totowa, N.J.: Humana Press.

Turvey, B. E. (2008). Criminal profiling: an introduction to behavioral evidence analysis. Burlington, MA: Academic Press.

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