Running header: criminal profiling 3
Modern criminology is a result of evolution the methodology ofpractices used to pinpoint perpetrators, the reasons behind the crimeand the appropriate responses by law enforcement. Crimanilisticsspecifically focuses on crime detection and the identification of aperpetrator.
In the past, various practices have been used to identify aperpetrator of a criminal act especially murder and sexual violence.Blood libeling is a common practice used against the Jews in Europeon claims of kidnapping and murdering Christian children to use thierblood for religious rituals during holidays. As (Laquer 2006) notes,even though almost 150 recorded cases of blood libel, it is not anactual Jewish practice despite the fact in most cases Jews weremurdered. Over the ages, these allegations of blood libel resulted topersecution without fore investigation. This questions the methodsand practices implemented in indentifying perpetrators of these acts.
As (Langham et al 1996) notes as early as 1144 the Jews of Norwichwere accused of ritual murder and thus leading to massacres of theJews in London. The method used to identify the perpetrators wasmajorly faith based. In that, any Jewish person was accused of thecrime and the penalty occurred without considering the realperpetrators’. The major minus of faith based identification s lieson the fact that it fails to pinpoint a specific individual(s) butrather isolates the whole group.
The use of socially accepted doctrines and writings was also a meansof identifying perpetrators’ of a crime. Malleus maleficarium alsoknown as the hammer of witches is such a book that faces witchcraft.It created a notion of secular laws that were implemented using faithbased profiling. According to Mackay (2009), these laws wereimplemented within Christian’s communities thus leading toexecution by being burned by the stake by the secular laws againstheresy. In addition, details by Pavlac (2009) pre-malleusmaleficarium ascertain that thier were rare witchcraft persecutions.However, its publishing made it a widely accepted real and dangerousphenomenon and was in the 16th century regarded as thegreatest sins and crimes in Europe. Thus, in the century any familysuspected of witchcraft was directly persecuted without substantialinvestigation simply based on faith based profiling.
Faith based profiling is method of outlining an individual based onhis/her religious and personal beliefs. According to Turvey (2011),objective investigation should not be influenced by the subject’sfaith such as spiritual beliefs, religious, metaphysical, paranormaland the supernatural. Thus as he notes, criminal investigation andforensic examination play a crucial part in administering justice,thus, fictional conclusions susceptible to testing does not belong tothier structural supports, Turvey (2011). A good example offaith-based reasoning is elaborated by the Spanish inquisition. Thisinquisition mandated any catholic orthodoxy. It openly decreedagainst Judaism and Islam and thus implemented faith based profilingto subject them to discriminatory legislation and render theminferior.
The development of theories of perpetrator identification has been onthe limelight for the past centuries. This is because variousresearchers believe that the practices used in the past were notaccurate. Salem witch trials are a good example of how profiling wasdone in the past. The allegedly witches were identified based ontheir lifestyle which was against the puritan code. Thus, individualsaffiliated to the ‘immortal’ lifestyle were convicted onallegations of witchcraft. On a personal perspective, the profilingof Salem witch trials were not effective as they were based onperceptions and the beliefs of an individual thus lacking actual rocksolid evidence supporting the allegations.
In the late 18th century, Cesare Lombroso redefinedcriminology thus implementing various concepts to accrue thatcriminals can be distinguished from non-criminals by various multipleanomalies. He introduced criminal profiling based on physicalappearance even though his works were disregarded in variousfactions. However, he challenged the methods of criminal profilingthus necessitating the need for reliable criminal identificationpractices.
Fictionalwriter Arthur Conan Doyle plays a vital role in modern criminology.Through his literature arts, he creates the persona of SherlockHolmes a detective who implements all the necessary behavior analysisto solve fictitious crime situations. He introduced the use ofvarious practices in a reliable manner to identify a perpetrator.Despite his works being fiction, he bridged the gap on behaviorunderstanding to the law enforcement by effectively and thoughtfullyelaborating routines to administer to identify a suspect.
White chapel murders are seen as the birth of crime scene analysisand offender behavioral analysis. It introduced the art ofunderstanding a crime scene and the perpetrator based on the evidenceleft behind. Thus, the use of hard evidence, processed analysis andexpert opinion was introduced into criminology thus shaping themodern day techniques. Dr Thomas Bond alongside Dr Phillips Baxterinvestigated the series of murders with an aim of solving the crimeby analyzing and interpreting the behaviors of the offender. Thus,they obtained a specific personal characteristic for policeinvestigation. This case was a good example of seeking expertknowledge in affairs of profiling thus enabling more accurate andreliable profiling.
Offender profiling can be termed as a modern day practice. Adeveloped system has proved reliable for the last decade. In thepractice early days it was used to identify offenders such as GeorgeMetesky (the mad bomber). As canter (2004) notes, Dr James Russellwas behind the profiling of the mad bomber. He assessed the nature ofthe crime, the crime scene, the motive and relation of the offenderto previous cases. This enabled him to conjure with the profile ofGeorge.
Howard Teten is lauded as one of the best profilers as he introducedthe practice into the FBI. The use of behavioral analysis by Tetenwas a step that changed the bureau front on criminology. He iscredited for preparing a hypothesis, which was able to determine thekind of person you are looking for from the crime scene details.
Behavior analysis has been the best practice to utilize this century.In the previous centuries, myths have been used to profile anoffender based on race, faith and social standards. However, moderncriminology seeks to understand the unique code or rather behaviorthe perpetrator has that can be seen at the scene of the crime. Thisreliable and accurate practice has and will facilitate criminologyover the coming ages.
Mackay,Christopher S. (2009) The Hammer of Witches: complete translation ofmalleous maleficarium, vol 1Cambridge.
BrentT (2011) criminal profiling: an introduction to behavioral analysis,vol 21, pg 324-345
Canter,David (2004) Offender Profiling and investigative psychology, Journalof investigative psychology and offender profiling, vol 23 pg no.21-23.