Criminal Profiling: Part 1 History and Method
Art & Science
Probing for an experiential assessment of a criminal from a crime scene (or series of crime scenes) involves, first and foremost, a detailed victimology. In other words, the profiler must learn significant facts about the victims life, especially in the days and hours leading up to his or her death. A timeline is drawn up to map their movements, and investigators study all of their personal communications for signals to where they may have crossed paths with a viable suspect. Its important to know their state of mind and their mental health assessment and history, as well as their risk level (with a prostitutes risk being much higher, obviously, than a girl in her own home).
Once the victims details are known, the crime scene and offenders methodology are evaluated for how best to categorize him (or her). Based on the idea that people tend to be slaves to their psychology and will inevitably leave clues, profilers can assess whether the person is an organized predator who planned and arranged a crime or instead committed an impulsive crime of opportunity, with little appreciation for what he may have done.
Profilers may also observe if the offender used a vehicle, is criminally sophisticated, or appears to be enslaved to a sexual fantasy. They look whether a weapon was brought in or taken out, the state of the crime scene(s), the type of wounds inflicted, the risks an offender took, his or her method of committing the crime and controlling the victim, and evidence that the incident may be staged to look like something else. In addition, there may be indications that the offender did not act alone.