Offender Profiling: Essential And Effective Thesis

(Harris, 2002, p. 8) Terrorist acts are both crimes and forms of warfare, and in both respects are unlike what we are used to." 2 Understanding the larger possibilities, such as warfare, law enforcement will be able to make informed decisions on matters concerning data collection. When gathering information it is important to document and standardize every step of the process. This will alleviate any complications when categorizing behaviors or activities and will ensure that all participants in the process are on the same playing field. (Ronczkowski, 2004, p. 72)

Following the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. which is an example of foreign terrorism, though domestic terrorism has been present in the U.S. For decades, many individuals accepted new standards of security that might infringe upon their rights as citizens to freely travel, assemble and speak, yet more recent protests have been leveled against law enforcement and security measures as time has passed, and the memory of atrocities has faded and people have become increasingly aware that knee jerk legal passages have become increasingly intrusive into their lives and the lives of others and the community at large and law enforcement are seeking to develop a balance that allows security officials to utilize offender profiling while still protecting civil liberties of every day law abiding citizens. (Peabody, 2002, p. 90)

Some Examples of Effective Use of Offender Profiling

Offender Profiling Rapists

As the old saying goes, some crimes are especially heinous, and sex crimes such as rape are a significant example and a significant social issue that almost everyone would like to see controlled and eradicated from society. Not very many people would argue for the enforcement of civil liberties for rape offenders as such would be contrary to the safety and protection of the whole of the world population. This next section details the manner in which offender profiling is used to profile rapists, both serial and single offenders.

Profiling rape offenders is a technique or group of techniques utilized by law enforcement and investigators to detail the motivations and possible future actions of the rapist. The technique is used to make a profile which could help predict future actions of the rapist, based on the type of victim, location of event, known appearance of the offender as well as his technique and/or communications he had with the victim(s). These bits of information, collectively create a picture of motive and potential next actions so law enforcement can ideally seek out prevention and apprehension mechanisms, though it also utilized to link rape events to a single rapist, often called a serial rapist and is utilized in much the same manner as the profile of murderers. The profiling of rapists can also be seen as one of the most frequently studied psychological subjects, as the law enforcement an dcorrections communites have also attempted to develop a partnership for training profiles with psychological data involving known offenders or those who are considered at risk for offending in sexual and power crimes such as rape and the molestation of children.

There are also data, however, that would suggest that some of what is consid- ered a lack of sensitivity in measurement is actually a reflection of the hetero- geneity in the offender population. Data from other sources (Knight & Prentky, 1990) suggest that there are a variety of typologies of child molesters and that not all may have sexual arousal as a primary motivator. Barbaree and Marshall (1989) provide profile analysis of arousal measures collected in their laboratory and found five profile types with only approximately 35% being what would be considered a typical child molester profile: that is, maximum responding to children with least responding to other stimuli. The rest of the extrafamilial child molesters were fairly evenly divided between normal profile types, non- discriminating profile types, a child-adult type (where arousal is equivalent) and a teen-adult profile (again where arousal is equivalent). Also, it should be noted that Freund and Watson (1991) found better sensitivity among subjects with male victims, and those with more than one victim, and the previously cited study by Miner et al. (1995) suggested that the offenders against males show the most dis- tinctive offense-specific profile. This literature would be consistent with literature related to reoffense in that those with more than one offense and those with male victims tend to have the highest reoffense rates.


One of the foremost experts on rape and its motivations is that of Groth who wrote one of the first and oft utilized works on the subject of rapists, rapist profiles and motivations based on those elements of the crime. The goal of Groth's work Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender was to create a better profile of the rapist, based on the various attributes noted above to make rape offenders less elusive to law enforcement. (Groth, 1979, p. 1) in so doing Groth studies patterns of various types of rape and gives the reader the details of the study in his book. In this work Groth outline three types of rape, anger rape, power rape and sadistic rape. In the case of anger rape the assailant expresses his anger through the act. In the case of power rape the act of dominating the victim is the motivating factor and in the case of sadistic rape the act of physically and psychologically hurting the victim is the motivation. According to Groth, though motivation can be divergent there is a general pattern that can be seen through analyzing the events of a rape, in the case of anger rape the offender uses the rape to release anger, and often does sever physical harm to the victim, in fact more than is needed to actually elicit the act of penetration. (Groth, 1979, p. 13) in power rape the individual does not necessarily with to harm the victim but rather possess them sexually, to express his own feelings of inferiority by utilizing rape to compensate psychologically redeeming himself by expressing mastery, strength, control, authority, identity and capability through the act of rape. (Groth, 1979, p. 25) the third type or pattern of rape as Groth explains includes a culmination of aggression as an expression of sadism, or the desire to inflict pain both physically and psychologically upon the victim in an eroticized state. "There is a sexual transformation of anger and power so that aggression itself becomes eroticized. This offender finds the intentional maltreatment of his victim intensely gratifying and takes pleasure in her torment, anguish, distress, helplessness, and suffering." (Groth, 1979, p. 44)

Offender Profiling Utilizing Physical MO

The physical evidence of unnatural deaths is frequently some of the most important bits of information for investigation, arrest and potentially prosecution of murder, or the designation as death by accident or suicide. Death by asphyxiation can occur in several forms, including smothering, manual strangulation, ligature strangulation, hanging and autoerotic death and each points to a certain type of offender and/or crime. Though gunshots, stabbing, and other forms of murder or suicide are apparent in most cases death by asphyxiation can occur in various ways and can lead to varied profiles of offenders or the development of an idea that wounds were self inflicted. One last note on offender profile with regard to weapon type and use, includes the fact that the angle of entry, distance of the weapon from the victim and many other clues help investigators determine the nature of the crime, where one was committed. Each different form has differing physical evidence and different implications for investigation and prosecution as well as clues for investigators regarding an offender profile. In the case of manual strangulation there will be petichial hemorage, of the blood vessels in the eyes, as well as bruising, possibly in the shape of the hands around the neck, and the injury will determine offender profile information, including if it was planned (premeditated), or occurred as a result of rage or opportunity. In the case of suffocation the person's fluids may be present on the object utilized to suffocate the individual and the individual may actually breath in some of the objects trace substance, and this type of death generally points to a crime of opportunity as well as an offender who is capable of physically holding down a victim for the extended period of time it takes to kill an individual by suffocation. In the case of ligature strangulation petichial hemorrhage will also be seen but in addition ligature marks, made by the pattern of the ligature device will be seen. This type of murder elicits a profile again of someone who is physically strong enough to subdue the victim and the type and proximity of the weapon will help determine opportunity or premeditation.

For example in the case of say a robbery or rape gone bad and leading to murder the victim may be strangled with an article of their own clothing or a power cord from an item found very close to…

Sources Used in Documents:


Califano, J.A. (1998, October). A New Prescription: Investing in Substance-Abuse Treatment Would Take a Big Bite out of Crime. Washington Monthly, 30, 9.

Evans, D.J., Fyfe, N.R., & Herbert, D.T. (Eds.). (1992). Crime, Policing, and Place: Essays in Environmental Criminology. New York: Routledge.

Glenn, R.W., Panitch, B.R., Barnes-Proby, D., Williams, E., Christian, J., Lewis, M.W., et al. (2003). Training the 21st Century Police Officer: Redefining Police Professionalism for the Los Angeles Police Department / . Santa Monica, CA: Rand.

Groth, a.N. (1979). Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender. New York: Plenum Press.
Yonan, Amanda Course Lecture PDF Causes of Death Strangulation and Suffocation Hidden Evidence Chapter 6 From Owen, Nuguchi & Reiches Hidden Evidence (2000) at

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