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Linking behaviour to characteristics: Evidence-based practice and offender profiling. Michael R. Davis School of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Psychological Medicine, Monash University, Australia and Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health (Forensicare).

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linking behaviour to characteristics evidence based practice and offender profiling

Linking behaviour to characteristics: Evidence-based practice and offender profiling

Michael R. Davis

School of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Psychological Medicine, Monash University, Australia

and

Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health (Forensicare)

slide2
“Let me make it very clear, poor people aren’t necessarily killers.

Just because you happen to be not rich doesn’t mean you’re willing to kill”

- George W. Bush (May 19, 2003)

crime classification manual douglas burgess burgess ressler 1992
Crime Classification Manual(Douglas, Burgess, Burgess, & Ressler, 1992)
  • Homicide, Arson, Sexual Assault
    • Detailed DSM-type classification
    • Potential profile information
  • “At present there have been no systematic efforts to validate these profile-derived classifications” (p. 22)
  • “We want to emphasize…that this rationally derived system has not yet been…tested” (p. 22)
sexual homicide ressler et al 1986 1988
Sexual Homicide(Ressler et al., 1986, 1988)
  • Organised/Disorganised - 36 murderers interviewed
  • Organised
    • Scene: planning, controlling, sexual acts with live victim
    • Offenders: intelligent, skilled job, angry & depressed
  • Disorganised
    • Scene: position dead body, necrophilia, depersonalisation
    • Offenders: low birth-order, know victim, confused, live alone
  • Problems with statistical analyses
profiling expressed as a canonical equation see canter 1995 youngs 2004
Profiling expressed as a Canonical Equation(See Canter, 1995; Youngs, 2004)

B1A1 + B2A2 +… + BnAn = D1C1 + D2C2 + … + DnCn

Where:

A = Actions during offences

C = Characteristics of offender

B and D = weightings

organized
= Organized

= Disorganized

homicide
Homicide
  • Sexual homicide of elderly(Safarik et al., 2000, 2002)
    • White victims more likely to be attacked by black offenders
    • Race, age, distance from house predictable (approx 70% accuracy)
  • Sexually-oriented child homicide(Aitken et al., 1995)
    • Age, previous convictions, victim-offender relationship predictable
    • Classification rate > 70%
  • U.S. Serial killings(Hodge, in press)
    • SSA (thematic structure of crime scene actions)
    • Themes of offender-victim interaction
    • Victim viewed as an object, vehicle, or person
stranger homicide salfati 2000a 2000b salfati canter 1999
Stranger Homicide (Salfati, 2000a, 2000b; Salfati & Canter, 1999)
  • Instrumental and expressive offence actions
  • Three themes (65% classified)
    • Expressive (impulsive)
      • Married, previous violent, property, sexual, & drug offences
    • Instrumental (Opportunistic)
      • Previous offences for burglary, unemployed, familiar with area
  • Finnish Stranger Homicides (Santtila et al., 2003)
      • Instrumental offenders unlikely to confess
sexual assault
Sexual Assault
  • FBI rape typology(Warren et al., 1991)
    • Power and anger motivations
    • Behaviour classified as proposed by typology (71-91% of cases)
    • Increased violence in subsequent rapes predictable
      • Excessive binding, Prolonged Transport, No negotiation, “Macho”
sexual assault15
Sexual Assault
  • Links with characteristics
    • History of burglary (Canter et al., 1991; Davies et al., 1998)
    • Higher levels of violence in rape linked to personality disorder
      • Sadistic: schizoid, avoidant, dependent
      • Opportunistic: antisocial, narcissistic, paranoid

(Proulx et al., 1994, 1999)

arson
Arson
  • FBI-motivational typology(Icove & Estepp, 1987)
    • Classification supported by 1016 interviews
  • Empirical classification – four themes(Canter & Fritzon, 1998; Fritzon, 1998; Fritzon et al., 2001)
    • Instrumental and expressive arson
    • Person or object focussed
    • Four corresponding themes of background characteristics
    • Supported in active case (Santtila et al., 2003)
conceptual model of offender profiling information
Conceptual model of offender profiling information

Demographic Offending

CharacteristicsBehaviour

conceptual model of offender profiling information18
Conceptual model of offender profiling information

Personality Offending

Behaviour

Demographics

conceptual model of offender profiling information19
Conceptual model of offender profiling information

Situational

Influences

Personality Offending

Behaviour

Demographics

conceptual model of offender profiling information20
Conceptual model of offender profiling information

Situational

Influences

Personality Offending

Behaviour

Demographics

progress in geographical profiling is more rapid
Progress in geographical profiling is more rapid
  • Data is more precise
  • Attack or disposal sites are obviously influenced by the situation, but less so than interpersonal behaviour
  • Theoretically barren use of demographics is not a component of the calculations
future research directions
Future research directions
  • Determine offence behaviours least influenced by situational factors
    • Respondent vs operant behaviour(Funder & Colvin, 1991; McClelland, 1984)
  • Focus on personality traits
    • Hypotheses from existing SSA plots
      • Causal-theoretical statistics
    • Interviews with offenders
      • Well-validated personality inventories
      • Determine conditional traits (Alison et al., 2002; Wright & Mischel, 1987)
future research directions23
Future research directions
  • Personality (Youngs, 2004)
    • 207 young offenders
    • Delinquency and personality questionnaires
    • Expressive/instrumental and person/property distinction
    • Expressive-person related to power and control
    • Property offenders perceived more controls from others
    • Offenders targetting people perceived more emotional closeness
  • Decision-making in individual profiles
    • Determine situations where research is inaccurate
    • Beneficial for theory development
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Current empirical literature
    • Broad demographic features & themes of interaction
  • Purely actuarial approach not feasible
  • “Structured Professional Judgment”(Davis, 2003)
    • Use empirical evidence to anchor & inform judgment
    • Add to & vary opinion based on case-specific features
    • Base variations on theory or clearly explained deduction (rather than intuition)
  • Clear parallels with pragmatism (Alison, 2005)