Is Criminal Profiling An Art, Science or Both?

Criminal profiling refers to the investigation of a person’s psychological and physical characteristics so as to justify whether the person has committed the crime for which he is suspected to have committed (Holmes& Holmes, 2008). Criminal profiling includes both personal features of the criminal and geographical features.  Investigators investigate both the scene where the crime occurred and the nature of the crime itself. Art is the manipulation or application of human creative skill and thoughts, typically and a visual from such as painting or sculpture, producing works that are worth to be appreciated primarily for their good physical appearance or emotional ability. Science on the other hand is the professional and practical activity comprising of the systematic study of the formand behavior of the visual and natural world through use of vision and carrying out an experiment. Criminal profiling is both a science and an art.

Anything that is scientific involves given procedures. Criminal profiling involves several steps which includes gathering all the information about the crime. The second step is answering the relevant question with the evidence. Of which the questions may range from simple to complex. For any study to be justified as scientific there should be specific set standards and requirements for the end result to be reliable. Criminal profiling in most cases include age, origin, gender, psychological features, religion, and one’s intelligence. If either of the information in any case lacks in the profiling, then the information is rendered unreliable and not to be trusted.

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Criminal profiling involves the use of forensic evidence. Forensic evidence involves the use of scientific procedures which requires the use of scientific knowledge and skills to interpret the results of the investigation. The other evidence used in criminal profiling is the crime scene characteristics. Scientific methods are used to understand and the evidence and to interpret the results.A scientific process involves critical and complex procedures which should be handled by professionals. The whole process of criminal profiling involves psychological studies which should be carried out scientifically and using scientific methods.

Scientific experiments involves the study of the world or factors from the unknown to the known .for example, in criminal profiling, the investigators operate from the scene which is known to asking questions which is unknown and the coming up with the answers to the questions from the witnesses. Also, in profiling of the criminals personal characteristics, coming up with the physical characteristics of the victim and interpreting the information is all scientific.

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Clinical approach of criminal profiling uses ideas from psychiatry and clinical psychology to help investigation where an offender is suspected to be suffering from a mental disorder of other psychological problems. This procedure involves scientific processes and methods which therefore leads the whole process to be scientific. Criminal profiling is also an art in that; it involves the use of one’s skills acquired after a long period of time. The skills are obtained due to continuous and consistent practice of the same job. In profiling of the criminal’s physical features, it involves the use of the acquired skills to understand and use the information that has been already observed. When a person is used to working with criminal profiling and investigation of the physical features, they tend to take a very little time to understand and explain the features.

The process of criminal profiling is grouped into five different stages. These stagesinclude; profiling inputs, decision making, crime evaluation, the offender features and investigative utilization. In the second step which is decision making, it involves the utilizationof the acquired tactics to conclude about the features of the suspected criminal. The fact that one cannot easily make a decision before acquiring the relevant skills thereforemakes thewhole process an art.

The personality of the criminal is determined by how the criminal behaves before and after the crime, to be able to satisfactorily deduce the features of the criminal one need to investigate in a silent and a more social manner. The method of investigating this is all an art that one develops after sometime. The whole process of criminal profiling portrays both the scientific and an art part which is discussed as above. Most of the procedures involved in the activity are scientific but are supported by arts.


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