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A2 Criminological Psychology
Transcript of A2 Criminological Psychology
Social Learning Theory as an Explanation of Crime
Biological Explanation of Crime
Self-fulfilling Prophecy as an Explanation of Crime
Token Economy Programme - Offender Treatment
Eye Witness Testimony - Loftus & Palmer (1974)
Bandura believed that children adopted role models and then copied them through observational learning. Role models are likely to be the same sex as the observer, share similar interests and be in a position of power or fame. Models could be real life people, like parents, older siblings or celebrities, or alternatively could be cartoon characters. There are a series of stages in modelling - ARRM:
Attention - the observer needs to be paying attention
to the behaviour being displayed by the model.
Retention - the observer must be able to retain the
information learnt from the observation.
Replication - the observer must feel able to replicate
the actions of the model.
Motivation - the observer must be motivated to
replicate the behaviour of the model. Motivation may be intrinsic or extrinsic.
If the observer sees the behaviour positively reinforced, for example the model receives pocket money, then they are more likely to imitate their behaviour. If the observer sees the behaviour punished, for example the model does not receive any dessert, then they are less likely to imitate their behaviour. This is vicarious reinforcement. If the observers mimicked behaviour is positively reinforced, then they are likely to increase the frequency of that behaviour. If it is punished then they are likely to decrease the frequency of that behaviour. If the behaviour satisfies some internal need, for instance, committing a crime gives a sense of excitement, then the behaviour is more likely to be repeated.
Self - Fulfilling Prophecy
Token Economy Programmes aim to modify behaviour based on the principles of operant conditioning. They can be established in any institution such as a correctional facility or prison and are applicable to both adults and juveniles. Both staff and inmates must be fully informed and aware of the programme in order for it to work. The inmates receive tokens as secondary reinforcers. The tokens themselves act as a type of currency within the institution, should be attractive to look at, to further encourage inmates to try and obtain them, but should be difficult to forge and of no real value outside of the programme. The tokens must be exchangeable for desireable rewards, preferably determined by the prisoners, at designated times which the prisoners should be aware of. The most desirable reward should be worth the most tokens, and the least desirable reward should be worth the least tokens. The rewards must not be unobtainable otherwise the prisoners will lose motivation and the programme will be unsuccessful. The inmates should receive tokens as positive reinforcement for displaying desirable behaviours or as negative reinforcement for not demonstrating undesirable behaviours. They may also be punished for undesirable behaviours by having tokens taken away from them, or not receiving tokens for the rest of the week etc. Individual goals should be set for each individual prisoner and staff should be aware of these in order to reinforce appropriate behaviours. Goals should be easy to meet at first, but should become more difficult to achieve as the programme continues. If the prisoner is struggling to meet their goals then they should be re-assessed and made easier.
- Bobo Doll Study - 1961 - 72 children aged 3-6 involved in an experiment involving adult models. Children were more likely to imitate an aggressive model in comparison to a non-aggressive model. They were also more likely to imitate a same-sex model.
Hagell and Newbury - 1994 - Young offenders watched no more violent TV than a school control group. They were less focussed on TV viewing, being less able to identify a favourite TV programme or character
- St. Helena Island - 2000 - TV introduced on St. Helena Island for the first time in 1994. Children's behaviours were recorded before and after the introduction of television. More pro-social behaviours were recorded after the introduction of television and there were 2 significant decreases in anti-social behaviours.
Bandura's Social Learning Theory:
Bandura's Social Learning Theory
(In Relation to Crime):
The Social Learning Theory would say that crime occurs due to criminal or anti-social behaviours being being mimicked and reinforced. As boys are socialised to be endorse more 'outdoor' activities, and more violent activities (given role models such as action man), this is how Social Learning Theory would explain the discrepancy between the number of male criminals (approx. 80%) and the number of female criminals (approx. 20%). This is also how Social Learning Theory would explain crime running in families, as the children may look up to the parents or older siblings as role models and mimic their behaviour.
There is supporting evidence from Bandura et al.
Bandura et al used a laboratory experiment to gain their findings. Bandura came up with his Social Learning Theory after conducting the experiment, therefore the experiment is unlikely to have suffered experimenter bias and should therefore provide sound supporting evidence.
It is useful in understanding how important role models are for children (e.g should boys be given role models like fireman sam who is not violent, rather than action man who endorses guns and fighting?)
The theory has good practical application, as the principles have been used to rehabilitate offenders by giving them good role models to try and encourage them to copy more acceptable behaviours.
A study by the British Journal of Psychiatry found that for males there was a higher likelihood of participants going on to be a sex offender if they had been sexually abused as children. This would suggest that this sort of behaviour may be mimicked. Social Learning Theory can also explain why not all victims of child abuse go on to be offenders, as those victims may not have viewed positive, vicarious reinforcement, but negative, vicarious reinforcement e.g parent going to prison.
There is conflicting evidence from Hagell and Newbury as well as from Charlton et al.
The theory mainly applies to children and therefore may not be generalisable to adult criminals.
The theory is reductionist, as it does not take into account opportunistic crime which has not been observed and learnt first.
Social Learning Theory does not take into account individual differences which may impact on a person's behaviour, for instance, genes and hormones.
No one single defective gene, or 'criminal gene' or pattern of genes has been found to explain crime. Nevertheless, our genes can influence our behaviour by determining things like the structure of our brain and the way in which our bodies respond to hormones and neurotransmitters. A genetic component to crome has definitely been established.
Christiansen - 1977 - conducted a twin study using the Danish Twin Register with 3500 twin pairs. There was a 0.35 concordance rate for comitting crime in in MZ twins and a 0.13 concordance rate in DZ twins.
Osborne and West - 1982 -13% of sons with a non-criminal father had a criminal conviction. 40% of sons with a criminal father had a criminal conviction.
Hutchings and Mednick - 1975 -
Adoptive father has a criminal record/biological father has a criminal record - 36% of sons would go on to get a criminal record.
Adoptive father does not have a criminal record/biological father has a criminal record - 21% of sons would go on to get a criminal record.
Adoptive father has a criminal record/biological father does not have a criminal record - 11% of sons would go on to get a criminal record.
Adoptive father does not have a criminal record/biological father does not have a criminal record - 10% of sons would go on to get a criminal record.
There is a link between the male hormone testosterone and aggression, which is associated with crime. Males produce about 10 times as much testosterone in comparison to females which would explain the gender discrepancy in crime.
Beeman 1947 - the castration of male animals reduced aggression. Injecting testosterone reinstated aggressive behaviour.
Olweus et al - 1980 - measured blood testosterone levelss in 16 year old boys and assessed aggression with a questionnaire. Higher levels of self-reported physical and verbal aggression were associated with higher levels of testosterone.
Different areas of the brain are also associated with aggression. Early exposure to testosterone in the womb may influence brain development, which could lead an individual to be more inclined towards aggressive behaviours.
Bard - 1929 - found that cats which had had their cortex removed were overly aggressive, responding to the slightest provocation.
Potegal et al - 1996b - Direct stimulation of an area of the amygdala in hamsters produces aggressive behaviour.
Raine et al - 1997 - found that there were lower levels of activity in the corpus callosum, amygdala and hippocampus in murderers who had pleaded not guilty on grounds of insanity in comparison to control participants.
The approach is objective and has scientific rigour.
The approach can be easily tested.
There is a large body of supporting evidence.
It explains why crime may run in families due to an inheritance of genes which may cause a predisposition to aggression.
The approach can be applied universally.
The approach is reductionist as it fails to explain non-aggressive crimes such as fraud which are unlikely to be caused by testosterone.
The approach highlights a biological element to crime, but does not fully explain it.
The Self-fulfilling Prophecy is the idea that people react to the way in which other people label them. These labels are often based on stereotypes held by the observer, and they therefore may react differently to the person they are observing based on their beliefs. This response is likely to elicit the expected behaviour from the person being observed. For instance if a young boy was labelled as a 'trouble maker', and the person making that judgement tried to stay well clear of him on the pavement, he would begin to see himself as a 'trouble maker', believe that he was expected to make trouble and therefore make trouble, thus fulfilling the prophecy. The Self-fulfilling Prophecy therefore can be used as an explanation of anti-social, aggressive and criminal behaviours.
There is a lot of evidence to support the Self-fulfilling Prophecy.
The Self-fulfilling Prophecy can explain many varieties of crime, not just aggressive or serious crimes. For instance if someone was labelled as a 'junkie' they may go on to fulfill the prophecy and abuse substances which is not a crime associated with aggression. On the other hand if someone was labelled as a 'thug' they may fulfill their prophecy in a more aggressive way by mugging someone.
Madon et al - 2003 - found that mothers who expected their daughters to go out and drink alcohol, had daughters who were more likely to go out and drink alcohol.
Jahoda - 1954 - the Ashanti tribe believed that boys born on Mondays would be quiet and placid, whereas boys born on Wednesdays were expected to be aggressive and short-tempered. Looking at the crime rates Jahoda found that 22% of violent crimes were committed by 'Wednesday boys' and only 6.9% were comitted by 'Monday boys'.
Zebrowitz and Androletfi - Baby Face - 1998 - found that observers of 'baby-faced' boys expected them to be 'nice, but weak.' Contrary to SFP these boys were actually more likely to commit crime.
Gibbs - self-fulfilling effect of going to court - 1974 - compared people on criminal charges who had, and had not, appeared in court. There was little difference in the levels of self-esteem between each group, suggesting the negative expectations of the court had not affected those who had already appeared for trial.
There is conflicting evidence to dispute the theory.
The theory is subjective and it is easy to misinterpret data in light of the theory.
The theory does not take into account individual differences like genes which may impact on behaviour.
It is difficult to study, as one needs to find a false belief. For instance Madon's experiment would be pointless if the mothers already knew that their daughters went out and drank alcohol, because then their belief would be based on their daughter's behaviour and not the other way round.
Hobbs and Holt - 1976 - conducted a study in a correctional facility for male youth offenders. There were four cottages in which the boys stayed, three of which were involved in Token Economy programmes. The boys in the three cottages which were involved in a TEP showed an increase in targeted behaviours whereas the boys in the final cottage did not. They also found that the programme was cheap to run, averaging only $100 per boy per year. They did find however that it was easy for staff to abuse their power within this scheme, for instance giving out tokens to the boys who lined up nicely. This behaviour was not one targeted for rehabilitation, but was simply one that made it easier for the staff.
Ross and MacKay - 1976 - found that a token economy programme was ineffective as reducing behavioural problems in delinquent girls.
Rice et al - 1990 - conducted a study within a maximum security psychiatric hospital and found that TEPs were effective in changing behaviour within the facility, but did not dictate their behaviour after release.
TEPs are cheap and easy to implement.
There is empirical evidence to suggest that TEPs are effective at modifying behaviour.
TEP is tailored to the needs of individuals.
TEPs can only be applied to institutions and not to the real world.
There is evidence to suggest that the effectiveness of TEPs after release is poor.
TEPs give the staff involved too much power.
TEPs may not promote behaviours and skills which are necessary for the real world and for rehabilitation.
TEPs can deprive inmates of their human rights.
TEPs modify prisoners' behaviours but does not address the root causes of those behaviours.
Anger Management is a treatment targeted at particularly violent or aggressive offenders and is based on cognitive behavioural principles. It can be conducted in groups or on a one to one basis. It usually consists of eight 2 hour sessions, the first seven running over the course of 2-3 weeks and the eighth and final session occurring a month later. There are three stages to AMPs:
Cognitive preparation - The offender begins by identifying what makes them angry so that thought patterns can be challenged and negative consequences considered.
Skills acquisition - The offender is taught cognitive coping strategies, like relaxation or counting calmly in order to help deal with their anger.
Application practice - The offender then practices these skills in role play situations and in real life.
The offenders are praised for appropriate responses, this therefore acts as primary reinforcement.
Ireland (2004) - studied 50 young offenders and using a self-assessment survey found that the participants believed there had been a reduction in their anger as a result of completing the AMP. A control group of 37 offenders, who were on the waiting list for the programme, were also studied along with the experimental group of 50. Angry behaviours were assessed two weeks before the AMP and 8 weeks after the AMP. 92% of the experimental group improved during this time. There was no reduction in angry behaviours in the control group.
Hunter (1993) - found a considerable reduction in impulsiveness and interpersonal training following an AMP.
Loza and Loza-Fanous (1999) - studied 271 male Canadian offenders comparing a group of non-violent offenders with violent ones and also comparing a group of rapists with non-rapists. Using several measures of anger they found no differences between violent and non-violent criminals and no differences between rapists and non-rapists. They therefore believe AMPs are ineffective at treating violent criminals as anger is not the cause of their criminality. They also believed AMPs may be harmful as offenders could blame their anger for their actions instead of taking
responsibility for themselves.
It can be tailored to individuals.
The skills learnt can be used in real life and outside of the prison setting.
It has supporting evidence to suggest that it is an effective treatment.
It's a quick treatment.
It deals with the root causes of violent behaviour.
The therapist does not deny the offenders human rights or have too much power over them.
It is androcentric.
It may lead prisoners to deny responsibility for their actions and blame it on their anger instead.
Cognitive therapies require the full commitment of the patient and therefore it can only work if the offender wants to be rehabilitated.
There is eviendce to suggest that anger is not the root cause of violent crime and therefore treating the anger will not solve the problem.
Most of the evidence collected to support this treatment is self-report data from offenders. It may therefore be biased, as the offenders may be reacting to demand characteristics.
This treatment does not work for offenders who can not self-evaluate.
Aim: To investigate the effect of a leading question about a car accident that implies damage on subsequent recall of speed and of damage caused.
Group 1: A sample of 45 students was used. They were shown 7 clips of traffic accidents and after each clip they were given questionnaires to fill in. There was one critical question included in the questionnaires, which was to do with the speed at which the car was travelling. The question read, 'About how fast were he cars going when they ___ each other?' The blank space was filled in by one of these 5 verbs: 'smashed,' 'collided,' 'hit,' 'contacted,' and 'bumped.' This was the only word which differed between each condition. An average score was taken from each group for each condition.
Group 2: A sample of 150 students were shown a short film which included a four second scene of a car accident. This scene did not include any broken glass. All participants were asked questions about the film, however one third were asked 'About how fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?' and another third were asked, 'About how fast were the cars going when they hit into each other?' The final third were not asked about speed. A week later all of the participants were given another questionnaire which again asked about speed (except from the control third) and all were asked 'Did you see any broken glass?'
Verb Mean Speed Estimate (mph)
The more severe verbs resulted in higher speed estimates. Sig. p<0.005
Response Smashed Hit Control
Yes 16 7 6
No 34 43 44
A more severe verb is more likely to lead to participants claiming to have seen non-existent broken glass.
Probability of saying 'yes' to 'Did you see any broken glass?'
Speed Estimate (mph)
Verb 1-5 6-10 11-15 16-20
0.27 0.41 0.62
Hit 0.06 0.09 0.25
If a participant was asked with the word 'hit' and estimated the car's speed to be between 16-20 mph then there would be a half chance that they would say 'yes' to 'Did you see any broken glass?'
If a participant was asked with the word smashed and estimated the car's speed to be between 1-5mph then there would be a 9% chance that they would say 'yes' to 'Did you see any broken glass?'
The findings of both experiments show that leading information of the verb in the speed question affects the way in which the event was represented in memory. Misleading information was integrated with the original memories to reconstruct a new memory including false information.
There is high applicability as the results are relevant to juries and the penal system.
High internal validity.
High reliability due to high controls of laboratory setting and large sample.
Lots of quantitative data which cannot be subject to interpretation making it objective.
The sample only consisted of students and therefore the results cannot be generalised outside of this age bracket.
Given that the entire sample consisted of students, the results may not be reliable, as this age group may be better eye witnesses in comparison to other age groups.
The experiment lacks ecological validity as the participants were shown a video clip in the safety of a laboratory setting. This means they are likely to have had low arousal levels which may not have occurred in real life, as additional factors such as shock or stress could impact on recall in a real life situation.
Eye Witness Testimony - Krackow and Lynn (2003)
Aim: To investigate whether leading questions affect children's recall of real-life events.
Method: 48 children aged between 4 years and 5 years 10 months were recruited using advertisements in pre-schools and paediatrician's offices. They were split into two groups and both participated in games such as 'Twister' and 'Shapes' In one group an assistant named 'Amy' touched the participants on their hands, feet, calves or arms. The second group met Amy, but were not touched by her. The participants also had their photograph taken by Amy. A week later the children were prompted to recall anything they could remember. They were also asked 30 questions, including 2 abuse related questions, which were either tagged or not tagged. The tagged question was: 'Amy touched your bottom, didn't she?' and the question which was not tagged was: 'Did Amy touch your bottom?' They were also asked forensic questions which were also either tagged or not tagged asking whether or not they had, had their photograph taken with Amy.
The use of tags on questions (leading questions) make child witnesses accurate. Using direct questions leads to a higher degree of accuracy in both abuse-related questions and general forensic questions. This highlights how innocuous touch is unlikely to create false memories and therefore unlikely to lead to false accusations of abuse.
There is high ecological validity.
The findings are useful for police in understanding that using leading questions with child witnesses can affect the accuracy of their recall.
It is also helpful for the police to understand that children are unlikely to confuse innocuous touch with abuse.
The children's parents had all given informed consent and therefore the study is ethically sound.
The children did not know the purpose of the experiment and therefore are unlikely to have suffered from demand characteristics, making the results high in reliability.
The sample only consisted of young children and therefore the results cannot be generalised outside of this age bracket.
Being in an outdoor environment extraneous variables may have impacted on the results.
The study only looks at leading questions in relation to touch and forensic evidence and is not as traumatic as a real life crime would be for a child.
Results: There was no significant effect of physical contact during play on the participants' answers or the accuracy of their free recall. In the analysis of the answers to the abuse related questions significantly more children said 'yes' to tagged questions than to non tagged questions (p<0.0001). Children who were not asked tagged questions answered correctly 98% of the time, in comparison to those who were asked tagged questions answered correctly only 44% of the time. Children asked tagged questions were also more likely to incorrectly agree with general forensic questions. (p<0.01).
Eye Witness Testimony - Yuille and Cutshall (1986)
Aim: To investigate the accuracy of recall in eyewitnesses to a real crime, in response to leading questions and over time.
Method: The 21 witnesses of a real life crime were contacted 4-5 months after the event and asked to take part in a scientific study. 13 responded and agreed to take part, were female, 10 were male. The event previously witnessed had been a robbery and gun shooting. A thief entered a gun shop, tied up the owner and proceeded to steal guns and money. The owner managed to free himself, armed himself with a revolver and went outside to take the registration number of the thief's getaway car. The thief had not yet gotten into the car and therefore shot the owner twice from six feet away. After a pause the owner shot the thief six times , emptying his revolver. The thief died and the owner survived after surgery. All of the participants were interviewed by the researchers who used the same procedure as the police had done at the time of the crime, first allowing them to freely recall as much as they could remember, then asking them specific questions. All of the interviews were recorded and transcribed. The researchers then looked at the effects of leading questions and asked half of the group: 'Did you see a broken headlight?' whilst asking the other half of the group, 'Did you see the broken headlight?' Similarly half of the participants were asked, 'Did you see a yellow panel on the car?' whereas the other half were asked, 'Did you see the yellow panel on the car?' The participants were also asked questions that the police would not have asked as they were not of forensic significance, such as the colour of blanket covering the body. FInally, the participants were asked to rate their stress levels at the time of the crime on a 7 point scale.
Eye witnesses testimonies are more accurate and less influenced by leading questions than laboratory research would suggest.
There is high ecological validity.
The findings are useful for police in understanding that using leading questions may not influence witnesses as greatly as lab research may suggest.
Unlike 92% other studies into eye witness testimony, this study did not use student participants which should increase the generalisability of the study.
It has high internal validity as the categories, such as 'action details' or 'object description' were fully operationalised, suggesting they measured what they intended to.
Yuille and Cutshall believed their experiment may have shown 'flashbulb memory' (where a specific event is recorded in great detail) and laboratory experiments would not pick this up as the participants would not be as stressed or have such high levels of arousal as they would in real life.
The uniqueness of the case makes it similar to a case study meaning it is difficult to generalise to other people and other crimes.
The scoring system used by Yuille and Cutshall turned qualitative data into qualitative data and there is a risk of bias when doing this which could have impacted on results.
Given that this was a real life crime, the researchers had no control over any of the variables, meaning the study lacks reliability and would be impossible to replicate.
There were a few inconsistencies with the questions asked by the researchers. One was asked about the age of the thief, who was 35, but looked to be in his 20s. According to the scoring system used, this meant when witnesses answered that he looked to be in his 20s their answer was marked as incorrect. This therefore would have affected the results gained from each witness, as the information recalled would have been correct, but marked as an incorrect detail.
Results: The witness' testimonies remained very accurate with all of them changing only by +/- 1-9% with the exception of one witness whose accuracy fell by 20%. 10/13 participants said that there was no broken headlight and no yellow panel, which was correct. Those who reported to be more stressed at the time of the event had more accurate testimonies in
comparison to those who were less stressed.
Offender profiling is a behavioral and investigative tool that is grounded on the belief that it is possible to work out the characteristics of an offender by examining the characteristics of their offences. It is intended to help investigators accurately predict and profile the characteristics of unknown criminal subjects or offenders.
The American Approach: 'Top Down'
Offender profiling was originally created by the FBI. They created a crime classification system based on information gained from interviews with 36 convicted criminals for offences such as rape and murder. For murder, they established two categories: 'organised' and 'disorganised'.
Murderer 1: Organised
Showed self control at the scene of the crime.
Covered his tracks.
Deliberately targeted a stranger.
Is intelligent and has a skilled occupation.
Is socially and sexually competent.
Was in a relationship.
Was angry/depressed at the time of the murder.
Followed the reports of his crime in the media.
The police could therefore use these categories to determine what sort of murderer they were dealing with in the future. For instance if they found a crime scene with very little evidence they would narrow down the suspect pool and focus their search towards someone with a skilled occupation etc.
Following the classification stage the profilers would then attempt to reconstruct the crime and would try and identify what the offenders 'signature' or 'M.O.' (modus operandi - meaning in Latin 'method of operation'.) The signature could give further clues about the offender such as their personality which could give investigators ideas on how to interview/interrogate them.
Murderer 2: Disorganised
Had unplanned actions.
Left lots of clues at the scene of the crime.
Knew his victim.
Knew the scene of the crime.
Had and unskilled job.
Is socially inadequate with sexual problems.
Lived alone and was a last born child.
Was confused at the time of the murder.
The British Approach of offender profiling was developed by David Canter and is a branch of investigative psychology based on cognitive-social principles. It uses evidence from the scene of the crime to make inferences about the person who committed it.
The degree of violence and control used in serious crimes, like rape, can vary widely and therefore these variations can tell us something about the perpetrator. For instance some rape offenders may be apologetic to their victims and this may reflect their sexual under confidence. Furthermore the type of victim may reflect the sub-group to which the criminal belongs or alternatively may highlight a particular group the offender has a grudge against.
Significance of Time and Place (Canter's Geographical Profiling):
The time and place of the crime can give us further clues about the offender. For instance if the crime was committed about 3pm then we can make inferences about the offender. The likelihood is that the offender is not a 9-5 worker, but may work shifts or be unemployed. The precise location of an event may also give us details about where the offender works or lives. For example if a series of offences were committed in a busy shopping centre, then we could assume that the offender is familiar with this area, and therefore may work in one of the shops, or in the centre itself as a cleaner or maintenance worker. They would also, therefore, be likely to live nearby.
If there is very little forensic evidence at the scene of the crime then it may be that the offender is reoffending or has at least been questioned by the police in the past. A good starting place to look for suspects, therefore, would be police records.
The British Approach: 'Bottom Up'
Evaluation of The American Approach 'Top Down'
It was created collectively by a group of people, not one individual.
It has helped to challenge stereotypes which may have misled investigators. Clark and Morley (1988) found that contrary to the idea of all rapists being loners, most were typically average men with normal families, often intelligent with skilled jobs.
It can help to predict future crimes and the timing of them.
Douglas found that 77% of the time, offender profiling helped to focus the investigation.
Ressler et al. found evidence to suggest that sex killers do follow a pattern e.g likely to be white, unmarried, unemployed and have sexual interests in pornography, fetishism and voyeurism.
It is reductionist and only really applicable to rape and murder cases.
It is unscientific.
It tries to fit crimes into pre-existing categories, making the assumption that all criminals are similar instead of treating each case individually.
The original sample which created the crime categories only consisted of 36 offenders and was androcentric.
Holmes found that out of 192 cases which used offender profiling 88 arrests were made and only 17% of these arrests were made with the contribution of offender profiling.
It does not use statistical tests.
The British Approach is less organised and inconsistent.
It was created by only one man and therefore may be subjective and could lack inter-rater reliability.
It is too flexible which can cause incorrect convictions.
Copson and Holloway surveyed detectives who had worked on 184 offender profiling cases. Offender profiling only produced identification in 3% of cases and helped to solve the crime in 16% of cases.
Evaluation of The British Approach 'Bottom Up'
It is applicable to a wider range of crimes in comparison to the American approach such as arson and theft.
It is based on psychological theories and is therefore more scientific than the American Approach.
No assumptions are made about the culprit until a statistical analysis has been made.
It treats all cases individually instead of assuming all criminals are the same.
Real Life Success Story
Railway Rapist - David Canter
David Canter initially became involved in the case on the 9th of January 1986 when he bought a newspaper whose front page detailed 24 sexual assaults which had occurred in London in the last 4 years. All the assaults were assumed to have been committed by the same man, sometimes working alone, sometimes with an accomplice. Canter drew up a table to see if there was any obvious pattern to the rapes.
In December 1985 and in the spring of 1986 two murders took place. Information linking the two was discovered by accident when an officer investigating the first murder watch a crimewatch programme about the second and noticed similarities between the two cases. Further analysis suggested that these murders had been committed by the same man responsible for the rapes. A major manhunt was instigated to try and catch him before he killed again.
Analysis then began to ascertain how the assailant's behaviour had changed over time and how he treated his victims. He attempted to form a relationship with his victims, asking them questions about their personal lives and even showing some consideration towards them. He was not particularly dominating and only used enough control to rape. This suggested to Canter that he was not a very powerful or confident individual. There was evidence to indicate that he was familiar with police procedures and on one occasion he combed the pubic hair of his victim in order to remove his own hairs. This implied he had been questioned by the police if not charged. Based on this information Canter published the following profile on the 28th of July 1986 to the police:
Residence: has lived in the areas circumscribed by the first three cases since 1983.
Marital status: probably lives with wife/girlfriend quite possibly without children.
Age etc.: mid to late twenties, light hair, about 5ft 9in.
Occupation: probably a semi-skilled job, involving weekend work or casual labour from 1984. Job does not bring him into contact with the public in all probability.
Character: keeps to himself but probably has one or two close male friends. Probably has very little contact with women, especially in a work situation. Has knowledge of the railway system along which the attacks happened.
Sexual activity: the variety and mixture of his sexual actions suggest considerable sexual experience.
Criminal record: was probably under arrest at some time between 24th October 1982 and January 1984. His arrest may not have been a sex-related crime at all but an aggressive attack, possibly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
This profile led the police to arrest John Duffy in November 1986. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment Duffy was initially on a list of 2000 suspects and ranked 1505th . He moved up to prime suspect due to the surprisingly accurate profile. He lived in Kilburn, the area specified in the profile, was 29 years old, he was separated from his wife with whom, in the later stages of the relationship, he had inflicted abuse upon. He was a travelling carpenter for British Rail and he had a previous criminal record for stealing (he had also been accused of raping his wife at knifepoint).
Real Life Failure Case
Rachel Nickell - Paul Britton
On the 15th of July 1992 Rachel Nickell was walked on Wimbledon Common when she was brutally stabbed and sexually assaulted. A passer by found her son, Alex, clinging to her blood soaked body repeating the words, 'Wake up, mummy.' Police questioned 32 men, but quickly targeted Colin Stagg, an unemployed man from Roehampton who was known to walk his dog on the common. There was no forensic evidence linking Stagg at the crime scene, therefore the police asked criminal psychologist Paul Britton to create an offender profile of the killer. He came to these conclusions:
Residence: he would live within easy walking distance of Wimbledon Common and would be familiar with it. He would not be a car user.
Marital Status: he would be single and have a history of failed or unsatisfactory relationships, if any. He may be living with a parent.
Age: Between 20 and 30 years old.
Occupation: if employed he would work in an unskilled or labouring occupation.
Character: would have a relatively isolated life with solitary hobbies such as martial arts of photography. He would have only average intelligence and education.
Sexual Activity: unable to relate to women in ordinary conversation. Would be attracted to pornography which would play a role in his sexual fantasy life, some of which would be violent. He would suffer from some sort of sexual problem like difficulty with erection or ejaculatory control.
Criminal record: would be very likely to kill another woman in the future.
This profile, the police decided, fitted Stagg and in order to incriminate him an undercover operation was instigated. Using the pseudonym 'Lizzie James', a policewoman from the metropolitan Police's Special Operations Group contacted Stagg and began pursuing a romantic relationship with him, eventually divulging to Stagg about her joy in hurting people, hoping Stagg would admit to the same but he didn't. James when went on to say, uin a recorded conversation between her and Stagg, 'If only you had done the Wimbledon Common murder, if only you had killed her, it would be all right.' to which Stagg replied, 'I'm terribly sorry, but I haven't.' Despite this, the police believed they had enough evidence to arrest Stagg. The entrapment evidence was excluded when the case came to court and the prosecution withdrew its case. Colin Stagg was acquitted after 13 months in prison.
In 2008, Robert Napper, a man already institutionalised in Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Rachel Nickell on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Coling Stagg received a public apology from the police. The offender profile also fitted Napper, but had fitted Stagg even better.
Offender Profiling - Article Analysis Practical
Real Life Failure Case
Article 1: The 10 Biggest Myths About Serial Killers - Pat Brown
This article aims to bust myths regarding serial killers and also aims to challenge the way in which they, the police, and offender profiling are portrayed in the media. Brown does this 'to help solve these crimes' and to ensure that 'mistaken beliefs [do not] cause subjects to be ignored by the FBI. One of the myths challenged is the idea that 'serial killers always use clever ruses to abduct their victims.' According to Canter's concept of geographical profiling, however, killers are much more likely to kill in an area they are familiar with, for example near their place of work or house.
Article 2: The Jigsaw Man - Steven Morris
The article, written by Steven Morris, explains the development of offender profiling from its origins in the early 1940s when a US psychiatrist, William Langer, was asked to draw up a profile of Adolf Hitler. Despite the British 'Bottom-Up' method of profiling being considered greatly more scientific in comparison to the FBI's 'Top-Down' Approach, due to it's use of statistical tests, Morris explains how experts in the field are moving away from the idea of bringing in a single psychologist or profiler. He uses the Paul Britton and Rachel Nickell case to highlight how 'the need[s] fpr fiction and a romantic public' often get the whole concept of offender profiling wrong. He explains the harsh reality of offender profiling going wrong by including details of Paul Britton's disiplinary hearing in front of the British Psychological Society.