Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Should Profiling Be Used to Catch Criminals?


Criminal profiling, like any other procedures or tool, have its pros and cons but the question here is should criminal profiling be used to catch criminals? Throughout this argument it will show whether or not criminal profiling is a good way to catch criminals. The pros are: profiling uses a different approach on how to solve the crime which is through the minds of the criminals, profound interrogative approach, and finally its procedure. The cons are: racial profiling and not all profilers agree with each other’s profile.
What is Criminal Profiling?

Criminal profiling is an investigative and behavioral tool that is used by profilers to determine the behavior, age, race, and any other important facts about the killer. Criminal profiling was developed during 1950’s by two FBI agents. Their names were Howard Teten and Pat Mullany. Profiling can also be traced all the way back to the Middle Ages where inquisitors use profiling on people that commit heresy or witchcraft. 
Uses and users of Profiling

Profiling is usually used for crimes that posses’ dark and inhumane acts to the victims. Serial killers are usually the top priorities of profilers and serial killer types of offender; to name a few: angel of death killers, sexual sadist, and bombers. But profiling can also be used in a normal killer or even a petty theft. The main goal of profiling is to narrow down a list of suspects from high amount to the least possible numbers of suspect. The main users of profiling are the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). The FBI has a unit specifically used for serial killers this unit is called behavioral analysis unit or simply BAU. These profilers in the FBI use this technique for crimes against children, adults, communicated threats, corruption, bombing and arson, and sexual crimes. 
Pros of profiling

The main pro of profiling is that it uses the metal background of the unsub (unknown suspect) to catch them. A profiler uses his/hers knowledge of both criminology and psychology. Criminal profiling utilizes the crime scene in order to study the criminal mind. With the process of elimination, profilers can determine the psychological state of the perpetrator, age, behavior, and geological profile. Profilers have a background in criminology (the study of the criminal minds), forensic, and psychology therefore profilers know what to look for in crime scenes and what can be determined from them.

Second pro of profiling is being able to interrogate offenders and suspects more efficiently. A profiler is trained to understand the deepest and darks thoughts of a person. Not all can handle the dark and sadistic mind of a complex offender that is why a profiler is trained ignore their negative skepticism and also be sympathetic to their state. With this skill, profilers are able to interrogate offenders or suspect with a clear picture of what they are. A profiler must always be on a constant look out for any behavioral shifts and follow up their initial read of the unsub. Profilers have a very good sense of observation for them to be able to tell lies from truth.

Lastly, the procedure of profiling is more detailed than a normal police force procedure which is another pro. These procedures contain being able to determine three types of offenders these are: organized, disorganized, and mixed of both. These are what profilers do in order to create a profile just to name a few: look at relevant reports, witness statements, study the victimology, photos and videos of the crime scene, forensic analysis, look at the medical and autopsy results, and  create a geological profile of the crime scene. From this procedure, profilers can now know the psychological and physical state of the offender, age, sex, signature (if there is any), residential proximity to the crime scene, and other related materials of the offender that could be added to the profile.
Cons of profiling

Like any other tool, profiling also has its cons. The main con of profiling is racial profiling or stereotyping. Many consider profiling as hoax because of the fact that profilers have to determine and judge the race of the preparatory. Other people do not like profiling also because of the fact that different classes of races are more likely to produce crime (which researchers show that black people commit more crime than any other race), but it does not mean that the entire portion of a race commit crime. Most consider black people to be behind every crime if there is a black suspect involved. According to Jeffrey B. Bumgarner, “many proponents of profiling suggest that some groups more than others-certainly men more than women and often more minorities more than whites-commit a disproportionate share of crime,”(Bumgarner,2011,p.61).

The second con of profiling is not all profilers have the same readings on the unknown subject. Every profiler is subject to his or hers opinions about the criminal behavior. Some cases are not solved due to feuds of profilers concerning the profile. Some fight over whether the profile is fit or not for the perpetrator.

From what I have researched, the pros outweigh the cons. Although some people may consider profiling to be racist, it does not mean that the profilers and the job they do is racist. With the use of profiling, law enforcer are able to narrow down and catch criminals more efficiently and effectively. In conclusion, profiling should be practiced in all law enforcement agencies as a means of catch serial killers because of the fact that it is precise in capturing the behavioral background of the perpetrator.

ž  Murdock, H. (2005, December). To tell the truth: internal auditors can use behavioral profiling techniques to identify deceptive behavior during interviews and interrogations. BNET. Retrieved from

ž  Research-Criminal Profiling. (n.d.). Retrieved from May, 28, 2011, from

ž  Scannel, K. (2010). An Analysis of Criminal Profiling: Is it the Complete Picture? Retrieved May 28, 2011, from

ž  Winerman, L. (July, 2004). Criminal profiling: the reality behind the myth.
 American Psychological Association. 35, 66.

ž  Young, T.M. (2006) Profiling Pros and Cons: An Evaluation of Contemporary Criminal Profiling Methodologies. Retrieved from