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Forensic Psychology and Criminal Profiling

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Mr. finbarb

on 8 September 2016

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Transcript of Forensic Psychology and Criminal Profiling


does a
really do?

Stand around and look smart and sexy?
(Well, maybe not the one that dresses like a smurf).
Re-offender risk?
Before release from prison etc., people need psychological assessment to judge risk of re-offending or even suicide.
Police and other staff can require training for hostage negotiation, or treatment for stress and PTSD for example.
Give expert evidence at a trial
or an opinion at a parole hearing
Victim Support
Victims of crime can require
counselling and support
Vulnerable witnesses
In certain crimes, the victim or suspect, or even a witness, can require a very specialist, trained interviewer. For example, a very young child or someone who is mentally impaired.
Prisoners suffering stress or abuse in jail can require support
Detecting deception
Naturally, people accused of a crime, or accusing another of a crime, sometimes lie. Some people believe it's possible to spot a liar by observing their behaviour closely.
Daneel Foyer
Derren Brown
makes you think about this >>>>
The founding fathers...
- Dr. Thomas Bond, surgeon to the London Police, attempted the first offender profile during the infamous and grisly
Jack the Ripper
murders, in 1888.
- However, the real father of modern day criminal profiling is judged to be a psychiatrist called James A. Brussel, who assisted law enforcement in the case of New York's
'Mad Bomber'
during the 1950s, when 30 bombs were planted inside six years at various city locations.
- Using letters left by the bomber on some unexploded devices left at Consolidated Edison energy company as far back as the 40s, and others sent to the Police, Brussel came up with this profile:
"Male, former employee of Consolidated Edison, injured while working there so seeking revenge, paranoid, 50 years old, neat and meticulous persona, foreign background, some formal education, unmarried, living with female relatives but not mother who probably died when he was young, upon capture he will be wearing a buttoned up double breasted jacket."
A short time later, 56-year-old former Edison employee George Metesky, living with his two older sisters, was arrested in his pyjamas. After police told him to dress, he emerged from his room wearing a double-breasted jacket.
- statistically, most bombers are male.

Employee? It

was fairly obvious from disgruntled letters sent to the company

He used unusual phrases like 'dastardly deeds' when describing the company and never used contemporary slang. His words looked like English translated from thoughts in another language, and seemed to suggest Slavic roots.

Living situation?
Brussel's psychiatric training helped him identify an 'Oedipal complex', most of whom live with female relatives

Most New Yorkers called the company Con Ed. for short. Metesky didn't, hence he likely lived elsewhere. Brussel also knew that a lot of Polish people lived in Connecticut, and the letters, in connection with the postmarks, suggested Connecticut.

Paranoia usually sets in during one's late 40s and early 50s.

Most paranoiacs are neat freaks. A double breasted suit was the neatest attire of the era!

Con Edison employees were instructed to examine old filesinvolving disgruntled former employees and turned up one that revealed how an employee had been injured at work and did not receive compensation. The employee wrote letters to the company at the time telling them they had committed 'dastardly deeds'. From there, it was easy to close the case!
How did Brussel do it?
Metesky happily confessed all, was declared insane and served 16 years in a hospital for the criminally insane
He was released in 1973
and died in 1994, aged 90. He remained angry with Con Edison.
"My own private blend
That's how Brussel described his approach, and it would later inspire
the establishment of the FBI's Behavioural Science Unit
(now called Behavioural Analysis Unit)
TV shows glamourize the process
Reality is a little more prosaic
Just like Brussel, it blends science, statistical analysis, balance of probabilities, guesswork and...luck!
Signature and MO
A criminal's signature refers to the behaviours
he shows at crime scenes that are not necessary to complete the crime in itself. Therefore they reveal his state of mind, emotional needs and personality. e.g. tying a bow on each victim's neck, arranging the body in a certain pose after a murder etc.
MO comes from the latin phrase,
Modus Operandi
which means way of doing something. A criminal's MO or way of committing his crime can change over time as he learns, e.g. always uses a knife for robberies but later switches to a firearm after an intended victim pulled a gun on him. Because it changes it can be difficult to link crimes
Both can be used to discover aspects of the criminal's profile and to link crimes, even if MO can be unreliable
FBI's steps to building a profile >>>
Profiler compiles data - crime scene photos, autopsy reports, lab forensics, witness statements
Can the crime be classified according to FBI manuals - spree killing, financial motive, organized (planned) or disorganized (spur of the moment) crime scene
Timeline - try to reconstruct the sequence of events before, during and after the crime took place
Now we build the profile, using the information gained, combined with existing statistics of similar crimes, to give likely sex, race, age, IQ of the perpetrator. This is what Brussel did.
Assisting the investigation - a written report is provided for law enforcement but it is at their discretion whether they use it or not. The aim is not to solve the crime but to narrow the focus of the investigaive team and reduce their workload and burden
How does a profiler draw conclusions?
Using the locations of an offender’s crimes as his or her starting point, the geographical profiler tries to predict the area in which the offender lives.
People only travel as far as they have to: as the distance between them and their target object increases, they are therefore less likely to travel to obtain it. Offenders choose the target that is geographically closer to them.
Buffer zone: area located around an offender’s home where he or she will not offend because, while the effort of travel is minimal, the likelihood of being recognized and therefore apprehended is higher.
How does a profiler draw conclusions?
Statistical profiling: Relationships between actions displayed at crime scenes and offender characteristics are identified using large-scale databases of solved crimes. e.g. a lack of DNA evidence at a scene may indicate a criminal who has been in trouble before, so police may be best to check existing offenders
Clinical Profiling: Rather than using databases of offences, profilers draw on their clinical experience of working with apprehended offenders.
FBI types: Disorganized and organized murderers, or typologies of rapist: power reassurance, anger retaliation, power assertive and anger excitation.
Can you profile Jack the Ripper?
Each of the five victims was a caucasian prostitute with a reputation for drinking heavily
No evidence of sexual assault at the crime scenes
Some body parts and organs were cleanly removed from the body and taken away from the scene
Strangulation was the likely method used to kill before post-mortem mutilation of the bodies took place
All victims, except the last one, were aged in their 40s and were killed outside
Strangulation was the likely method used to kill before post-mortem mutilation of the bodies took place
All murders took place on either a Friday, Saturday or Sunday in the early hours of the morning
All murders took place within 1/4 mile of each other in Whitechapel, a rundown, seedy area of London in the 1880s
In all liklihood, the murderer was a man, given the
historical era as well as statistical data on serial killers
Research shows that serial killers generally select victims from their own race - hence the murderer was most likely a male caucasian.
The killer would have had a Monday-Friday job, leaving him free to carry out his murders on weekend nights
The degree of bodily mutilation suggests destructive fantasies, so his likely job would be something where he can secretly indulge his passions under cover of doing his job - perhaps a bucther, mortuary assistant, hospital attendant. The killer also showed some expertise with a knife to work so quickly outside without being discovered
Police reports confirm that each murder, excepting the final one, were conducted swiftly
Lives and works in the Whitechapel area, given the proximity of crimes and killer's familiarity with the streets. London Hospital is just one block away from the first murder scene
Mother was likely to have been domineering and a heavy drinker who didn't provide adequate care - this caused a social detachment and lack of empathy for other people
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