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Criminal profiling is a process where investigators and detectives work to profile a criminal. This involves acquiring information about the criminal and what is a recurring theme in his or her crimes. Any clues that could possibly be any help to deciphering who the criminal is recording in a file and a team will work to try to piece this information together and try to uncover the identity of the criminal. They use several methods to help them. One of these is crime reconstruction. This fairly new area of profiling became popular in the 1990's. It involves the use of scientific method, logical reasoning, sources of information, criminology, victimology, and experience or skill to interpret the events that surround the committing of a crime.
12.2 Analyse how the use of scientific methods, logical reasoning, sources of information on people, criminology, victimology, and experience or skill is employed to interpret the events that surround the commission of a crime.
The scientific method of crime reconstruction typically starts with inductive reasoning, proceeds to deductive reasoning, then involves a breaking-down or analysis of facts, and finally involves a building up of facts or synthesis. The number and type of facts, together with any ambiguity or doubt associated with them, determine the level of evidential value. The process is almost exactly the same as scientific reasoning.
Step 1 - State the problem by looking at what type of crime was committed, the legal elements of the crime, and the characteristics of the jurisdiction where the crime was committed.
Step 2 - Form a hypothesis by looking at the physical evidence and interviewing the victim or witnesses to determine motive and possible suspects.
Step 3 - Collect data by doing records checks and police checks, re-interviewing the victim, witnesses, and suspects, while trying to obtain additional witnesses and exemplar or comparison samples from suspects.
Step 4 - Test hypotheses by evaluating how truthful and reliable the stories are of each party to the crime, and weigh their stories against the physical evidence and any known physical laws that could possibly reinterpret the physical evidence.
Step 5 - Follow up on the most promising hypotheses (theories) with any and all procedures (e.g. surveillance, "stings") that might prove or disprove a particular suspect is the offender.
Step 6 - Draw conclusions that are supported by court-admissible evidence leading to arrest, prosecution, and conviction of the offender
The conclusions of a crime should take one of four forms about a sequence of events:
It can be shown to have occurred in a certain manner.
It can be shown to have likely occurred in a given manner.
It can be shown to have unlikely occurred in a given manner.
It cannot be shown to have occurred in a given manner.
Inductive logic is frequently used by detectives, seasoned investigators and when you have small titbits of information to start with. It is also know as "analogical reasoning" or "argument from analogy". Analogies, synonyms, antonyms, metaphor, simile, rhyme, parable, fable, myth, and poetry form the basis for inductive reasoning, and it is a skill that can be sharpened.
Linguistically, it is based on the meanings of words such as "normally", "likely", "often", "many", "rarely", "most", "some", "probably", "usually", and so on. The best that can be said is that an inductive argument is sound or cogent, leading to likely conclusions, or what a reasonable person ought to accept. Students familiar with "reasonableness" standards in the criminal justice system should appreciate this characteristic. The most frequently cited example of inductive logic is what theologians call the argument of design:
"The universe exhibits a structural design" (premise)
"A machine exhibits a structural design" (premise)
"A machine is made by an intelligent being" (premise)
"The universe was made by an intelligent being" (conclusion)
The argument from design draws an analogy between the universe and a machine, seeking to persuade us that they similar in structure, and since a machine was made by an intelligent being, it is likely that the universe was made by an intelligent being. This argument is one of the many proofs of God (although "proof" is not a word that should be used in inductive reasoning). The form of the argument is as follows:
A has the property of C
B has the property of C
B has the property of D
A has the property of D
One of the sources of information at police and investigators disposal is the National DNA Database. The UK National DNA Database (NDNAD) is a police intelligence database that uses DNA to identify criminal suspects and to find links between different crimes. It was set up in April 1995 by the Forensic Science Service (FSS) which has since become a world expert in the use of forensic DNA technology.
The NDNAD relies on the fact that DNA can be obtained from any sample of human tissue left at the scene of a crime (SOC). This is not just limited to violent crimes where the offender leaves a sample of blood or semen; the technology is now so sensitive that genetic information can be extracted from minute samples such as a fingerprint left on a door handle, or the saliva left on a cup or a cigarette. The extended use of the technology now means that the NDNAD contains information from a wide range of crimes. Data from every new crime scene is routinely analysed to see if it matches a known individual on the database or any other SOC sample. This not only helps to identify suspects, but can also help prove that a person is innocent.
The objective of criminology is the development of a body of general and verified principles and of other types of knowledge regarding this process of law, crime and reaction to crime. This knowledge will contribute to the development of other sciences, and through these other social sciences will contribute to an understanding of social behaviour. In addition, criminology is concerned with the immediate application of knowledge to programs of social order and crime control. This concern with practical programs is justified, in part, as experimentation which may be valuable because of its immediate results but at any rate will be valuable in the long run because of the increased knowledge which results from it." "Criminology in the broadest sense covers the whole of criminal science. In a narrower sense it refers to the part of criminal science which empirically describes criminal behaviour and explores individual and social factors associated with crime and criminals.
Victimology is the scientific study of victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system - that is, the police and courts, and corrections officials - and the connections between victims and other social groups and institutions, such as the media, businesses, and social movements. Victimology is however not restricted to the study of victims of crime alone but may cater for other forms of human rights violations that are not necessarily crime.
In criminology and criminal law, a victim of a crime is an identifiable person who has been harmed individually and directly by the perpetrator, rather than merely the society as a whole. However, this may not always be the case, as with victims of white collar crime, who may not be clearly identifiable or directly linked to the crime. Victims of white collar crime are often denied their status as victims by the social construction of the concept (Croall, 2001). Not all criminologists accept the concept of victimization or victimology. It also remains a controversial topic within women's studies.
A lot of skill and experience is often required to solve crimes. For this reason seasoned investigators are often used to solve the difficult cases to show the younger and less experienced investigators what to do and teach them some tips. They will often spend most of their lives training, learning, and sharpening their skills. This will take years and may come with great sacrifice but their reward is the responsibility of solving the more difficult crimes and being regarded as one of the best in their field.