Profiling . Top Down Approach . Objectives of the session. To identify different characteristics from a crime scene To contribute at least 1 behaviour to a potential profile of the killer To explore the key study posed by Canter in relation to the Top Down approach . What is profiling?.
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Profiling Top Down Approach
Objectives of the session • To identify different characteristics from a crime scene • To contribute at least 1 behaviour to a potential profile of the killer • To explore the key study posed by Canter in relation to the Top Down approach
What is profiling? • Simply • Collection of various scientific and psychological theories and techniques • Attempt to draw suggestions as to the characteristics of an offender • Based on the behaviour exhibited at a crime scene
Offender Profiling Process • No lines of inquiry Meet SIO Photographs Statements Profiler Maps Visit Crime Scene Victimology Post Mortem
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition… Profiling history • The origins of profiling can be traced back to the Middle Ages • The Spanish Inquisition tried to “profile” heretics • Cesare Lombroso and several others realized the potential of profiling in the 1800s • Their research reflects the biases of their time
Thomas Bond • Dr Bond tried to profile Jack the Ripper in 1880s • Autopsied Mary Kelly (last victim) • Identified sexual nature of the murders - elements of misogyny/rage • Claimed all 5 crimes committed by one person who was physically strong, composed and daring • Quiet & harmless in appearance, possibly middle-aged & neatly dressed • A loner, without a real occupation • Later concluded the same offender was responsible for murder of Alice McKenzie • The Jack the Ripper case remains a mystery
Walter C. Langer • In 1943 the American secret service asked psychiatrist Walter Langer to profile Adolf Hitler • They wanted to know how to interrogate him if he was captured • Suggested that Hitler’s mother’s death from cancer left him unable to handle relationships • Determined to prove his masculinity • (unresolved Oedipus Complex) • Langer concluded Hitler would certainly commit suicide if defeated • This is exactly what happened
Fictional killer Hannibal Lecter despised profiling The CIA kept updating its profile on Osama Bin Ladin Purpose of Profiling • To identify suspects for close questioning • To suggest interrogation strategies • To predict future victims and escalation • To suggest techniques for rehabilitation
What should the Profile include? • May vary • Has been suggested that the following should be included: • Ethnicity • Gender • Age range • Marital status • Employment • Degree of sexual maturity • Reaction to police questioning • Likelihood of reoffending • Previous convictions • Previous offence similar to current offence
Creating A Profile 1 • The FBI compile homicide profiles around 4 key topics: • Antecedent: What fantasy or plan did the murderer have before the act? What triggered the murderer to act? • Method & manner: What type of victim did the murderer select? What was the method: shooting, stabbing, strangulation or something else? • Body disposal: Did the murder happen where the body was found? Was the body moved? Did the killer intend it to be found? • Post-offence behaviour: Is the murderer reacting to media reports or contacting investigators?
Creating A Profile 2 • The offence • Is there evidence of careful planning? • Gaps between offences can suggest the offender spent time in prison, in hospital or abroad or else gives clues about employment patterns (eg. shift work) • What does the offence suggest about the offender’s state of mind? (growing caution, increased appetite). • The signature is a special weapon or ritualistic fantasy by which the offender identifies himself, often to taunt the police • Is there a history of minor offending (indecent exposure, theft) escalating up to the murder? • Offenders’ fantasies may have been acted out in previous relationships
Creating A Profile 3 • The site • Most offenders act within a small radius of their home (“marauders”) • Some are “commuters” • Were restraints used? • The crime site can indicate opportunism or else precise targeting • Serial killers often ensure the bodies can be found • (police/media response is as important to them as the crime itself)
Creating A Profile 4 • Victimology • Needs to compile a complete history of the victim • Clues as to why this victim was selected • Predict potential victims in future • Injuries on the victim can suggest things about the offender: the type of weapon used • (anything to hand for impulsive attacks, special “murder kits” for premeditated ones) • Was the offender known to the victim? • Did the offender stalk and target the victim in advance? • Trophies: Offenders may take items from the victim or take photographs/videos • Offenders who feel invulnerable may keep a diary of their crimes
Ted Bundy preyed on girls who reminded him of his college sweetheart Creating A Profile 5 • Interaction style • This evidence is normally only available when victims survive • “Behavioural scripting” – the attacker acts out a role and forces the victim to play along • “Pseudo-relationships” – attacker pretends to be a friend or family member • “Anonymity” - victims seen as objects or else fear of recognition • Sexual dysfunction (eg. impotence) or paraphilias (eg. fetishism, paedophilia, etc.)
Theories of Profiling 1 • Two main psychological ideas: • BEHAVIOURISM • Criminal behaviour is learned, like any other • Crimes can tell us about the environment an offender comes from • Behaviour tends to be consistent • May be spouses, co-workers, family, etc treated similarly Ivan Pavlov – classical conditioning BF Skinner – operant conditioning
Theories of Profiling 2 (2) UNCONSCIOUS MOTIVATION • Based on Freudian (psychodynamic) ideas • Over-developed super-ego – seeks out punishment • “Issues” with parents – displaced or projected onto victims • Idea that motivation behind attacks is consistent, even if behaviour changes Freud – the Unconscious
FBI Profiling 1 • Follows MOTIVATIONAL approach • Categorise offences according to motivational TYPE • This is a TOP-DOWN procedure • FBI Agent Robert Ressler coined the term “serial killer” • Interviewed 36 imprisoned killers in the ’80s • Ressler created the Crime Classification Manual for the FBI (1992)
Two main Typologies • Behavioural ‘fingerprint’ ~ two distinct forms (Ressler et al 1986) Organised Disorganised
Widely accepted as a tool to aid profiling One of the most widely cited classifications of violent, serial offenders Organised vs Disorganised Crime Scenes Burgess et al. 1986
Task…. • Based on the Organised / disorganised crime scene tool, can you consider what characteristics / behaviours of the offender could be assigned to the 2 typologies? • On the A3 paper, in groups, develop some ideas
Organised vs Disorganised Characteristics Burgess et al. 1986
Task... Looking beyond the obvious • Read the crime scene handout and look at the picture • From the information, consider: • What type of crime scene is this? • What characteristics / behaviours exhibited led you to this decision? • Based on your ideas, what type of offender could be our potential suspect? • What characteristics could you suggest to be included into a profile?
Crime Scene details... The victim was a Caucasian female aged 28 years. She was found partially clothed on the floor of the living area. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. There was one large, deep impact area on the rear of the skull and multiple impacts to the forehead, face and shoulders. There were large patches of blood on the sofa and on the floor beneath the victim and extensive blood spatter on the walls and ceiling in the vicinity of the victim. There were smaller patches and smears of blood between the sofa and the front door, on the armchair and outside the front door. A lampshade and base were found on the floor of the living area The contents of the flat did not appear to have been disturbed. The patio doors at the rear were open and the lock showed signs of having been forced. The front door was pushed to but not fully shut or locked.
Summary • Profiling can ASSIST police • Not to lead an investigation • Profile report must be clear for interpretation • Many different behaviours are exhibited at a crime scene • These behaviours can help us determine what type of offender may have committed the crime
Key Study…. • Canter et al ~ Investigation of the organised / disorganised theory of serial murder • Aim ~ test the reliability of the 2 typologies • Method ~ content analysis of 100 cases using Douglas et al(1992) Crime Classification Manual • Read the previous research conducted by Hazelwood & Douglas • Look through the results and conclusions Q1 ~ Why does Canter (1994) criticise the technique used in the American approach? Q2 ~ Why were the samples of serious offenders interviewed a problem? Q3 ~ How is Canters’ test different from the original methods by Hazelwood and Douglas?
Homework • Read over the Top Down approach • Complete questions • Keep an eye on the news!