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Each reply must be at least 400 words in length and include citation(s) and two
references in APA format. These responses are to be informative and contribute to
advancing the knowledge of the topic. This is the minimum required.
Please make a response to these posts:
Post 1
Racial Profiling
Racial based profiling and suspect based profiling are vastly different approaches to
criminal profiling, but they are commonly associated as the same thing. A dangerously
mistaken notion, racial profiling is an illegal and immoral act whereas suspect profiling
attempts to ethically focus investigative teams to a type of person likely to have
committed the crime at hand. Racial profiling has become one of the most salient issues
facing police today, especially in minority and ethnic communities (Parker, MacDonald,
Alpert, Smith, & Piquero, 2004). While suspect based criminal profiling is a practice that
is constantly growing and gaining popularity.
In a general view, suspect based profiling is an attempt to provide some personality and
behavioral clues about an offender based on the exhibition of their behavior and the
evidence they have left behind (Petherick, 2005). This estimation may attempt to
highlight a specific gender, age, and race of the suspect and this educated guess is based
off preceding similar crimes and criminal profiler expertise. Indeed, the suspect’s race is
mentioned as this is incredibly important for investigators to narrow their focus, but the
suspect’s race is only one factor leading to the overall picture. The criminal profiler
bases his/ her assumption of the suspect’s race only after careful analysis of the situation,
and does not allow race to blindly lead the investigation. Unfortunately, not all profilers
or investigators remain completely unbiased. When race has become the sole attribute of
a criminal profile, investigators lose focus on the overall theory of the suspect and focus
intensely on only one aspect of the profile. When people of a particular race are seen
likely to commit a certain crime, racial profiling has occupied the place of decent police
work. After crime scene analysis, suspect race should be narrowed down to focus efforts
towards a specific person; however, focusing on race prior to a crime assumes people of a
particular race are the only ones capable of committing a certain crime.
The work of a criminal profiler is already under professional scrutiny and is constantly
under review for scientific validly; a substandard profiler could derail the entire
profession if they utilized such practices as racial profiling. A racial profiler will not only
tarnish their own reputation, but also that of other profilers within the field of criminal
profiling (Petherick, 2005). To avoid confusion between the two types of practices,
attention should be focused on informing the public on the difference between reality
versus Hollywood, and suspect based profiling versus race based profiling. Profilers
operate in a sensitive area of criminal investigation and gain great attention by the general
public, therefore criminal profilers must use caution in the conclusions they draw on
criminal suspects (Nathan, 2005). This conclusion must be based in fact and quantifiable
evidence found at the crime scene. The evidence must have been analyzed carefully and
compared to past crimes of similarity. When assumptions are ready to be made about the
suspect’s physical characteristics, reasons for such racial assumption should be made
clear to the public to avoid emotionally charged refutation.
Nathan, G. (2005). Offender profiling: A review of the literature. The British Journal of
Forensic Practice, 7(3), 29-34. Retrieved from
Parker, K. F., MacDonald, J. M., Alpert, G. P., Smith, M. R., & Piquero, A. R. (2004). A
contextual study of racial profiling: Assessing the theoretical rationale for the
study of racial profiling at the local level. The American Behavioral
Scientist, 47(7), 943-962. Retrieved from
Petherick, W. (2005). Serial crime: Theoretical and practical issues in behavioral
profiling. Retrieved from
Despite conceptual differences, authors generally define profiling as interpreting
crime scene behavior in order to devise an offender profile covering gender, age, race,
intelligence, interpersonal relationships, employment and location.(Nathan, 2005) Even
though there are many advances in crime detection and more are welcomed, the criminal
profiling field is engulfed with contradiction and disagreement. Scientists of the social
science variety argue that the discipline is unscientific because the methodology provides
weak research, while police officers appear to be skeptical of the benefits for solving
crimes. In a generic context the technique of criminal profiling has for some time
suffered from an imbalance between the favorable reputation the technique appears to
enjoy and the scientifically grounded research that might substantiate its capabilities and
thus reputation. (Herndon, 2007)
The criticism is not only being said by the police. Many critics are claiming that
criminal profiling is not a hard science therefore; it cannot be helpful in investigations.
Let us step away from the criticisms of the evolving CP and delve into another subject
that is somewhat close to the scientific aspect of criminal profiling, behavioral profiling.
The business community uses this tool as a way to advertise their products by gathering
personal data in order to find certain behavioral patterns and buying tendencies from their
customers. Lawmakers use this tool to organize their speeches to constituents in an
attempt to retrieve a good response or voter loyalty. The medical community uses this
profiling as a way to gather information from their patients for their database during a
time when the patient is ill and in need of their services.
It should be understood that criminal profilers do not catch rapists or killers. This
is the responsibility of an experienced detective or law enforcement investigator using
knowledgeable police work and excellent skills of detection. However, offender
behavior is a definite piece of evidence from any crime scene because it reflects the
personality of the offenders therefore; behavior will provide certain pieces of information
on an offender. Of course, the more behavior information that is provided or the
enhanced quality of the information, the better the profile will be. To answer the
question of if the negativity helps or hinders the field of profiling, it appears to me that
there is but one conclusion. Criminal profiling is an art that uses science to analyze and
organize gathered data to produce an educated guess. There is the belief that profiling
can predict a criminal characteristics or behavioral habits based on crime scene evidence.
This belief is somewhat evident by the continuous use of criminal profilers in high profile
cases in which detectives are finding difficult to solve, mental health professionals are
supporting, and process and procedure literature is finding its way in Law journals.
However, it is contended by individuals much smarter than I that this is a mere illusion
supported by Hollywood and the almighty dollar. There is no analytical data to support
an increase in serious criminal cases being solved before in introduction of profiling to
the case versus if the case was never offered to a profiler. The profiling fantasy is also the
result of journalists who write about profilers with mystical powers of deduction, thereby
increasing the public’s belief in the validity of an unproven investigative method. (Alison
& Canter, 1999) The use of evidence-based profiling is really the only source for
concrete research on crimes in order to assist investigators in serious criminal
occurrences until the field of profiling has developed a universal definition for all crimes
as well as a standard of education and communication unlike what you would find in the
local detective bay of the police precinct. The advancement of the field is dependent on
the recognition of criminal profiling as more than a witch hunt. It has to be considered an
advanced scientific tool that is invaluable to law enforcement.
Alison, L. J., & Canter, D. V. (1999). Professional, legal, and ethical issues in offender
profiling. In D. V. Canter & L. J. Alison(Eds.), Profiling in policy and
practice(pp. 21-54). Aldershot, UK: Ashgate
Herndon, J. S. (2007). The Image of Profiling: Media Treatment and General
Nathan, G. (2005). Offender profiling: A review of the literature. The British Journal of
Forensic Practice, 7(3), 29-34. Retrieved from

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