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Profiling and Analytical Skills in Crime Detection Essay

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Updated: May 7th, 2022


The rates of crimes committed on a daily basis have triggered security agents to come up with methods of tracking and apprehending criminals. Specialists in matters of crimes have also sought to acquire more skills and knowledge to establish the truth about criminals after a crime has been committed. Profiling and analytical skills are important areas for crime investigators since they aid them in investigating the crimes committed every day. Profiling is also referred to as criminal investigative Analysis (CIA) (Royal Canadian Mounted Police 2012, Para. 1). Law enforcers use investigative tools to solve violent crimes committed by members of the community. Analysis in criminal investigation is the panacea of identifying criminals. The paper therefore presents the need for analysis in crime detection besides highlighting the various factors that may hinder effective analysis. However, it suffices to give a brief account of investigative profiling.

History about Investigative Profiling

Investigative profiling came on the limelight in 1940s (Schlesinger 2009, p. 73). The quest to look for affable mechanisms of dealing with criminals began when law enforcers failed to arrest a person involved in a serial crime. Members of the law enforcement pondered on the best approaches that they could use to ensure that they were able to track the crime offender (Schlesinger 2009, p. 73). Since then, various approaches and tactics have been adopted with some being successful while others have failed. These law enforcers borrowed on psychological behaviours that the victims engaged in. The psychology of the criminal underscored many trails to find the best approach that would allow an amicable solution to be found. Currently, the police departments and intelligence security have advanced in their intelligence services. Some of the modern technologies used include DNA fingerprints, use of wiretapping, electronic surveillance, and forensic tests among many others (Burrell & Bull 2011, p. 6). Every crime is analysed differently because of the differences in the evidence and the behavioural or psychological aspects that came into perspective based on the crime. As such, analysis of crime detection became a crucial exercise for law enforcers.

Need for Analysis in Crime Detection

In the society, members commit various crimes, which are usually categorised on a different basis such as the nature of the crime, the amount of force that is applied, and the intentions of the crime amongst other parameters. The major types of crimes include robbery, robbery with violence, fraud, rape, and assault. A crime is an action intended to hurt, deprive, or injure someone. Analysis is important in cases where evidence of a crime that is committed can be gathered (Royal Canadian Mounted Police 2012, Para. 1). Many crimes that have trays of evidence are normally investigated through various crime detecting tools. Evidence can be pieced together from the evidence on the crime scene and or from witnesses that may have seen the crime being committed. Victims of the rime can also be used to give evidence on what really happened. Therefore, analysis is important because it allows security personnel to arrest the culprits. It is not easy to determine people behind a certain crime without carrying out an analysis to net those behind the offense. People appear to be the same. Therefore, it may not be possible to identify an individual who has committed a certain crime without having to engage an analysis (Xiaoyu, Miller, Smarick, Ribarsky & Chang 2008, p. 919) of the crime committed in a bid to get a valid evidence to enable easy tracking of the offender. Such crimes may be complex in apprehending the culprits. Therefore, analysis is the only path that can allow the culprit to be apprehended. To trap the criminals, there are various basic profiling requirements by the investigators. For instance, once a crime has been committed, the first step is the collection of crime scene information. This information is important in helping the investigators to kick-start their investigation. For example, in a crime where people are killed, the investigator will have to collect data at the scenes where the crimes happened. Photos will be taken besides factoring in samples of evidence at the scene (Schlesinger 2009, p. 75). This information is important in telling the motive behind the theft. After the information is gathered, the investigator ponders about the risk of both the offender and the victim. The victim’s risk is the amount of risk that he/she places on him/herself to qualify as a victim. High-risk victims usually place themselves in situations that are risky such as prostitution while a low risk victim engages in occupations and activities that do not lead them to be the target of the offender. There are different offenders who target different kinds of victims (Mainas 2012, p. 264). Therefore, understanding the level of risk that a victim exposes him/herself to is a strategy of gaining an insight on the unidentified offenders that may have committed a crime. An offender’s risk is the level of risk to which an offender exposes himself/herself. A high-risk offender will commit a crime in circumstances, which facilitate apprehension and vice versa. This information about the victims and offenders is vital in validating a crime. For instance, this information will help an investigator to relate the scenes of the crime and circumstances under which the crime happened to the strategies that will be employed to proceed to further investigation. Analysis also requires that the crime be assessed by reconstructing and pondering about the crime and the motivation of the offender. Crimes are committed with different agendas. Some are crimes are committed to revenge for certain things that somebody did to another. Others are done for personal gains such as stealing while others are committed because of disagreement among many other reasons. Analysis is therefore important because it allows investigators to base the investigation on likely facts. For instance, an individual may be opposed to certain ideologies of a group, for example, about a decision to buy assets. Supposing the person is killed. It is likely that the offenders are his/her close friends opposed to the ideologies of the person. Such crimes have been committed around the world (Mainas 2012, p. 266). Prominent people and politicians have been killed because of their ideologies and opinions about certain aspects of the society. Therefore, in such a case, the investigator will have to factor such issues such as the motivation of the offender, which may result to nesting the culprits who committed a crime. Criminal profiling is yet another important aspect in carrying out a crime detection process. There are various types of criminals. However, there are two broad categories of criminals: organised and unorganised criminals. Organised criminals are more or less professional in their criminal activities. They plan criminal activities professionally. They will find ways to conceal evidence that may lead to their arrest when they engage in criminal activities. On the other hand, unorganised criminals are not smart in their criminal organisation tactics. They may not contemplate how to commit a crime to avoid being captured by the police. Therefore, profiling helps the investigator to develop specific descriptions of the offenders. This information is used for searching the culprits (Shelton, Corey, Donaldson & Dennison 2011, p. 263). This part of analysis plays a vital role in ensuring that the culprit is traced. The police officers then store the information to track the whereabouts of the culprit. The profile is used for investigation purposes. For instance, in a robbery case, suspects will be profiled with their photos identified to help in search their whereabouts. Apprehension then takes place where the information will be cross checked with any new updates as investigations goes on to help to nest the culprits. This stage requires the profiler to review all the information but not that of listed suspects because they can unwittingly influence the outcome. All the information concerning forensic information, crime scenes, and autopsy reports should be reviewed. Thereafter, concentration shifts to profile the unidentified offenders in terms of psychology (Alison et al. 2010, p. 115). Analysis is also important in ensuring that the felons committing specific crimes are apprehended (Schlesinger 2009, p. 73) to avoid arresting other people who may not be involved in a criminal activity. Many reports postulate that many people face convictions and or are detained in prisons for not having committed a mistake but because of mistaken identity. The work of the analysis is to help reduce such instances. It is not right and constitutional for an individual to be subjected to trials or be associated with a criminal activity when he/she did not participate (Schlesinger 2009, p. 75). It influences the psychology of an individual negatively, a case that might cause negative or permanent impairment of the cognitive abilities of an individual. Therefore, analysis in detection is important in alleviating the ever-increasing rate of mistaken identity. Police officers may not be able to get sufficient information about the criminal if there is no analysis. In most cases, cases of mistaken identity arise due to the concept referred as modus operandi/signature. An offender uses this technique to carryout a criminal activity. This technique is likely to change over time. A criminal is able to change or advance in his/her criminal activities as he continues to acquire experience in the field. As a gangster advances his/her criminal skills, he/she acquires experience and perfection. Hence, such an individual will be able to escape the traps of the police officers (Shelton, Corey, Donaldson & Dennison 2011, p. 264). A good example is where a robber in the early years of joining robbery may not be acquainted with the tricks involved in a robbery. However, as time goes on with the robber gaining experience, it becomes hard for such a crime to be trapped because he already understands the weakness and strengths in the systems. Therefore, because the offender’s modus operandi keeps changing, it is not the right attribute to consider when linking an offender to a series of crimes. Understanding this case is helpful in the investigation of criminal activities. Therefore, the investigator may link a serial of crimes through the examination of the repetitive ritualistic behaviours of the offender as opposed to the criminal techniques that are employed by criminals. This technique can assist the investigators and the police to isolate the actual offender. Therefore, the analysis will help to reduce the number of people who are taken to prisons for another person’s mistake, or will help to avoid instances where an innocent person is attacked and killed by mob justice. Moreover, it will help to arrest the actual criminals besides protecting the alleged criminals who were involved in criminal activities and later turned away from such activities. Analysis is also needed depending on the nature of the crime that is committed by the criminals. For instance, offenses such as homicide and sexual assaults require that analysis be done to find out the offenders. Analysis of such crimes is enhanced because it involves a single incident. The crime might be serial involving one person. It will therefore require an analysis of the person to be caught (Beauregard 2010, p. 3). To ensure that this is achieved, the investigators are required to be people with high training in ensuring the success of the analysis. The investigators should have the personality profiles of the suspects with details of their behavioural analysis that is aimed at finding out information about the unknown defender. Therefore, “the victim and the offences committed are examined to help determine the characteristic traits of the offender” (Shelton, Corey, Donaldson & Dennison 2011, p. 264). This profiling helps an individual to be recognised as an offender. Based on this analysis, it can provide insights that can lead to the arrest of the culprit or help to suggest for further investigation that is able to find where the criminal has taken cover. Analysis is also required if a person is believed to have participated in criminal activities with no available evidence to accuse him/her. This is usually established under indirect personality assessment approach that is based on the individual’s personality. It is very helpful in determining if the suspected person really fits the kind of crime committed. The behaviours of the individual and his/her psychological measures will provide an insight as to whether the accused person committed the crime under scrutiny. Other considerations include being able to choose interview techniques that are appropriate to help in finding the criminals. The interview schedule should ensure that the member is free to provide detailed information about issues to do with crimes. Interviews provide an opportunity for the suspects to defend themselves. They are also important in gathering more information that can be used to launch further investigations to apprehend them. Furthermore, the need for analysis in crime detection arises out of the need to provide substantial evidence in the court of law during trials. The offender cannot claim to have committed a crime or pronounced as criminal unless proven guilty. Proving guiltiness of an individual does not come easily as the accused has to present tangible evidence to link the offender to the crime committed. Therefore, it is an avenue that the court bases its decisions. Therefore, analysis is appropriate to ensure that the accuser has a stable ground to argue the case. Analysis also enables investigators to find out the trends in the crimes committed and the motivation behind them. Having this basis or foundation information allows investigators to deal with subsequent criminal activities more professionally. It further serves to discourage commitment of crimes by gangs because they live with the fear that the long arm of the government will get hold of them. Furthermore, it also enables the investigators to come up with other new techniques and processes on how to deal with criminal activities in a bid to deter future criminal activities. Even though the analysis is important in crime detection, various issues may deter its effective use and application.

Constraints that Hinder Effective Analysis

There are a number of issues that may hinder effective use of analysis in crime detection, which need to be put under investigation. One of the issues is inadequate training of the investigators on behavioural and general detection skills. Organised criminal groups commit some critical strategised crimes thus making it is difficult for the investigators to identify them. They plan in a professional manner sealing many loopholes that would assist the investigators to find them. Therefore, to deal with such organised criminals, investigators are required to have a high level of training on how to detect such people. Analysis of crime detection is a complex process that entails detail investigation and psychoanalysis of the motives that made the crimes occur. Therefore, if incompetent and less trained investigators analyse it, is deemed to fail. Therefore, criminal investigation analysts should be highly experienced with an extensive mastery of behavioural analysis. Further, they need to have been authenticated by “the international criminal investigative analysis fellowship to provide good analysis on the criminal behaviours” (Schlesinger 2009, p. 73). The coaching that the investigators need includes equivocal death analyses where they are trained on how to reconstruct the likely course and circumstances that contributed to crimes related to murder amongst other forms of training. Another issue that is likely to constrain analysis in crime detection is the lack of knowledge in profiling of crimes by the investigators. Profiling is an important aspect in ensuring that criminal groups are pursued and or detected. For instance, various categories of criminals employ different tactics in their criminal activities. For example, serial offenders may engage in repeated criminal activities without being identified if the investigators are not well equipped with knowledge on how to profile the crimes that are reported to them. Therefore, having enough skills, knowledge, and equipment will lead to successful achievements in crime detection. The investigators should have enough equipment such as technologies that can enable them scan the fingerprints and machines with the capability of testing the deoxyribonucleic acid DNA of the suspects to have enough information while tracking them. Poor sourcing of information from other sources may also constrain the success of the analysis. Some crimes are complex. They require the investigators to take enough time to piece these patches of information together to establish the truth. For instance, in cases where many vehicles and mobile gadgets are used in committing a crime, it requires the investigators to get the information from different sources such as communication agencies that provide a license to communication networks to identify who used a certain number at a particular time. Therefore, this imperative tactic requires the investigator to have commitments to go this far if at all positive results about the crimes are required. Furthermore, information must be sourced from other ‘intelligence facts’ such as forensic information to enable identification of the culprits. Complexities displayed by offenders at the crime scene are yet other factors that may impede its effective use. Gathering of evidence in most investigative scenarios is based on evidence that is collected at the scene. However, some have managed to come up with measures or strategies that they use to conceal any possibility of investigators in finding out their activities. Gangs involved in robbery and fraud provide an illustration of this case. For instance, they may use scanned fingerprints to enable them get into a building to commit their robberies. This therefore becomes difficult for the investigators to collect tangible evidence that can assist to track them (Burrell & Bull 2011, p. 5). The quality of data gathered may also impede the effectiveness of analysis in crime detection. In circumstances where reports are incomplete or inaccurate, recall and recount by the victims and witnesses and incomplete interviewing may contribute to the failure of achieve success in the analysis. For instance, when victims provide contradictory statements about the criminals and how they committed their crimes, it may be difficult for the investigator to find out whose information/statement is true. Therefore, this may impede the pace of apprehending criminals. Incomplete interviewing or poor skills in carrying out interviews with the victims and alleged crimes may hinder effective achievement of the objectives of an analysis to detect criminal activities. Interviews are central in finding more about what happened. They may assist investigators to carry out their investigations to catch up with the criminals within few days. However, if the interviewing personnel are not qualified and experienced enough to carry out an interview, it will be difficult to get the desired results by the investigators. Timescale is also one of the factors that may lead to ineffectiveness in the analysis of crimes detection. The period that the criminal investigative analysts need to gather evidence, especially where the offender is under custody and in need of quick evidence in the case, may hinder the effectiveness in analysis. This will lead to speedy investigations that may compromise various issues. Enough information and evidence may not be gathered hence compromising the quality of evidence that is required. On the other hand, investigations may take a very long period hence allowing the offenders to find time to escape rendering the process ineffective. Another issue that may impede effective analysis in crime detection is the nature of the crime that is committed. Investigations related to thefts and burglaries are difficult to investigate compared to crimes such as robbery, violence, and sexual offences because they may not involve human contact. Therefore, linking an individual’s behaviour to the crimes is difficult since the modus operandi, motives, and mannerisms cannot be linked to the crime committed. Therefore, in such crimes, it will require appropriate strategies to ensure that evidence is gathered to apprehend the victims. Gathering evidence that involves murder is not easy because the behavioural components of a person who committed the crimes cannot be assessed. Hence, it may be difficult to pursue the offenders (Burrell & Bull 2011, p. 3). However, there are mixed reactions concerning the nature of the offense that is committed. For instance, even though some people contend that robbery does not exhibit behaviours of the offender, it is somehow easy to be analyse it based on the speech. Furthermore, the injured party can provide evidence based on the weapons used in a bid to apprehend the victims (Vallano & Compo 2011, p. 961). Linking across the offence types is also an issue that may impede the effective of analysis of crime detection. It is difficult to link different offences committed by a single offender. For example, when a criminal commits sexual offences besides engaging in violent robbery, piecing together this information is a problem because it requires the investigators to identify a series of patterns from within the offense groups using an offender-centered approach in finding more about the aspect of violent offences. This may therefore be hectic thus attracting compromise on the successful completion of the investigation. Another impediment of effective analysis is the issue related to caveat. Minimising false positives where offences are inaccurately identified and false negatives where offences committed by the same offenders are not well linked is a challenge in the analysis of crime detection. It may jeopardise the process (Elntib 2010, p. 185). Analyst should be aware of these problems. They should always endeavour in taking steps to ensure that accuracy in the investigations is upheld. Therefore, investigators should keep an open mind and avoid assumptions about people, places, and circumstances. Objectivity should always be upheld to ensure that there is no biasness in the investigation as this may hinder realisation of the objectives. Therefore, the investigators should develop their hypotheses and test them to ensure that accuracy is achieved. Interpretations of false negatives should be done cautiously. For instance, peer reviews from colleagues can help to ensure that information that is gathered is objective and accurate. This will help to avoid cases where people are accused of committing a crime, which they did not commit.


Therefore, based on the expositions made in the paper, it suffices to declare the issue of analysis of crime detection crucial and one that requires high-class strategies in a bid to unravel the truth about any criminal offense. Even though profiling and analysis have the potential of ensuring that criminal activities are pursued and perpetrators apprehended, it is also important that the challenges or the loopholes that are likely to be used are sealed. Data collection and rerecording are very essential aspects in profiling that the investigators need to invest in to ensure that they are able to pursue criminals. This information should be captured clearly and accurately in the crime reports. Interviewing process should also be done in a professional way to enable thorough investigations of the crimes. Investigators should also be highly trained on how to carryout out investigations in different situations and circumstances. Various specific bodies that provide intelligence services should also verify them. Furthermore, robust data coding systems for behaviours such as modus operandi can boost the accuracy of linking various crimes that are committed by similar offenders. Ample time is also required for intensive investigation with clear communication being adhered to ensure that enough data is gathered. However, more research is required in the areas of profiling and crime detection to deal with the sophistication that organised groups employ to commit crimes. Therefore, it is the duty of the investigators to always be committed besides adhering to high standards of professionalism to successfully carry out their investigative work.


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