Criminal Profiling in the Detection and Apprehension of Offenders
1. Briefly describe two offenders.
2. Explain how criminal profiling might have been effective in earlier detection and apprehension of each offender.
3. Describe factors for each offender that might be important to include in a criminal profile and explain why.
The use of criminal profiling as a means to help detect and get criminals has become common phase during many criminal investigations in the last decade. The activity has been recognized as one of the most useful techniques in offender profiling as it helps define the behavior of an offender before they attain the height of criminal career. Criminal profiling has been used successfully by law enforcement in various areas and it is a valued mean of narrowing the field of investigation (Holmes and Holmes, 1996). It does not provide the specific identity of an offender but rather indicates the kind of person likely to have committed a crime by focusing on certain personality and behavioral characteristics.
These profiling techniques have been used in various settings such as hostage taking (Reiser, 1982). The principle that each and every criminal regardless of the level or severity of their crime will work to a given set of values is applied in criminal profiling. These values are assumed to be as individual as your own handwritten signature and upon identification they can be used to help law enforcement make a positive identification.
George Metesky nicknamed as mad bomber is one of the offenders who eluded New York City police. He planted more than 30 bombs small in size around the city between 1940 and 1956. These bombs affected phone booths, movie theaters and other public areas for almost 16 years. In 1956, a frustrated investigators of the case asked psychiatrist James Brussel who was a New York State’s assistant commissioner of mental hygiene to study the crime scene photos and some notes from the bomber.
Brussel wrote a well detailed description of the suspect and highlighted that the suspect would be a foreigner, unmarried, self-educated in his 50s, paranoid, living in Connecticut and with vendetta against Con Edison where the first bomber had targeted power company’s 67th street headquarters. Some of Brussel’s predictions were simply common sense and others were based on psychological ideas. He noted that paranoia tends to peak around age 35, the bomber would be in his 50s, 16 years after his first bomb. The profile enabled the police arrest Metesky in January 1957 and he confessed immediately.
If this criminal profiling was done during the earlier stage, Metesky would not have resulted in all the souls lost. According to Brussel’s opinion, the bomber wanted credit for his work and arrogance was likely to be his downfall as he tempted to reveal details that would lead the police to his door.
Another criminal profiling is that of a Canadian offender whose crimes continued to increase in violence over lengthy period. Paul Bernardo also known as Scarborough rapist assaulted a large number of women in Ontario over the course of a number of years in the early 1990s. He was one of the many suspects in the investigation although he was not arrested for several years making his violence escalate culminating in the murder of three young women (Williams, 1996).
The case underscored the need for the Canadian law enforcement agencies to adopt non-traditional techniques such as criminal profiling in order to help solve such devastating serial crimes. Such devastating crimes committed by Paul would not have been possible if earlier detection was done which would have led to on time apprehension.
On the case of George Metesky, some factors are necessary to include in his profile. Factor such as gender type is important in deducting the available options which is based on common sense just like the vast majority of bombers. Citizenship is also a factor to include in the profile, Brussel theorized that Metesky was a foreign as he wrote in an overformal way and he never used contemporary slang.
Paul Bernardo profile would include factors such as antecedent which would outline the fantasy or plan the murderer had in place before the act. Reasons that triggered the murderer to act some days and not others would also be explained here. Paul selected females as his victims, factors such as the method and manner of rape would be necessary during profiling. Body disposal is another important factor to include, question such as did the murder and the body disposal take place all at one scene or on multiple scenes would be necessary to answer. How the criminal react after the behavior is also crucial, does the murderer try to inject himself into investigation by contacting investigators or reacting to media reports.
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