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Homeland security is a concept that is widely discussed in the modern society. Questions concern the rightfulness of the governmental interference in people’s lives. While such talks are circulating the country, investigation tools are becoming more advanced to serve the prevention of future crimes.
Psychological profiling is a tool used by investigators to determine a person who has committed a crime. It is usually claimed to have two elements, which are the inductive and the deductive (Helfgott, 2008, p. 423). The first one is based on the assumption that if certain crimes are committed by people from the same social groups, then these people must have some personality traits common for all of them. Inductive investigation relies heavily on the past cases to identify similarities between them and to draw the psychological portrait of the possible offender. This study is relatively easy to conduct as it does not require the investigator to possess any additional knowledge from such fields as psychology or anthropological studies (Bartol & Bartol, 2016). The deductive approach is much more complex. It calls for the attentive analysis of the crime scene to determine the psychological portrait of an offender by the signs that he or she has left. Moreover, a great deal in this type of profiling is played by a victim. By analyzing the psychological portrait of a victim, one can recreate the psychological portrait of an offender.
Implications for the Government
There are several goals in psychological profiling that the government could target for a set of the homeland security policies. For instance, the development of both approaches may help to provide the criminal justice system with tools for creating a psychological portrait of offenders. Creating a list of characteristics like race, gender, age, education, and others would serve for enhancing the effectiveness of the investigation process, as the circle of suspects would be much narrower. Another possible use is for the criminal justice system to use the method’s findings for analyzing the items found at the offender’s home. Personal things like photos, video clips, clothing and other items may be a speaking proof of the offense commitment. Finally, the government could develop guides with questioning techniques that could help to better distinguish between the liars and the truth speakers.
However, there are some questions concerning the viability of the psychological profiling tool. Since it is based on drawing similarities and offering assumptions, it cannot be considered the only method of investigation. Conclusions can easily be wrong, and guilty people might be harder to find. However, when it comes to determining the sequence of events without any witnesses, every tool becomes useful. Thus, psychological profiling should become one of the additional, yet important, steps for the process of investigation.
Even though the concepts of civil liberties and homeland security are somewhat opposite, the one is used to justify and support the other (Musch, 2003). For instance, people have the right for their messages, both online and offline, to be kept private, and the attempt to read them without the owner’s permission is punished by the law. At the same time, the government implements the anti-terrorism policies, which contain, among other things, the terms of cyber-attack prohibition. It is done to ensure that no private messages of the Internet users are stolen.
However, there are some drawbacks to this model. For instance, the anti-terrorism campaign mentioned above is using psychological profiling to control potential criminals (Forts, Greene, & Lynch, 2011). The government can also become the party that reads the messages of others as a part of this anti-terrorist campaign. The story of national NSA surveillance over citizens has created a major discussion on the rightfulness of such actions (Black, 2013). However, the current situation of terrorism threat calls for security to be put in the first place.
Homeland Security Jobs
It is not very evident, but teachers could become the force for ensuring the security of the nation. Since they spend a lot of time with their students, they can understand their psychological portrait well. If anything changes dramatically in a student’s behavior, it might be the troubling sign. Teachers should consult families and social departments to let them know something is happening. This might possibly prevent the radicalization (White, 2016, p. 25) of young people.
Homeland security is kept by several services. It is crucial to understand the offenders’ psychology for investigating motives and a sequence of events. While psychological profiling cannot be considered a completely accurate tool, it might be helpful for seeing a bigger picture.
Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2016). Current perspectives in forensic psychology and criminal behavior. New York, NY: Sage.
Black, I. (2013). NSA spying scandal: What we have learned. The Guardian. Web.
Forst, B., Greene, J., & Lynch, J. P. (2011). Criminologists on terrorism and homeland security. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Helfgott, J. B. (2008). Criminal behavior: Theories, typologies and criminal justice. New York, NY: Sage.
Musch, D. J. (2003). Balancing civil rights and security: American judicial responses since 9/11. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana Publications.
White, J. R. (2016). Terrorism and homeland security. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.