By Rebecca Stefoff
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One approach is to compare the crime to what is already known about similar crimes and the people who committed them. A profiler who chooses this approach might use statistics about criminal behavior to interpret the unsub’s characteristics. Statistics are simply pieces of information that have been gathered, sorted, and organized. In a case of arson, or deliberate fire setting, for example, a profiler could refer to a report from the federal Department of Justice that says that 52 percent—more than half—of the people arrested for setting fires in a given year were under the age of eighteen.
More than 50 percent of both the police officers and the forensic professionals rated the profile as generally or very accurate, regardless of whether they compared it with the real offender or the fake one. Another 25 percent rated it as somewhat accurate, again regardless of whether they saw the real offender or the fake. ” When rating the profile’s accuracy, they gave the hits more weight than the misses. In addition, the police and forensic professionals who took part in Alison’s experiment might have tended to view “official” profiles as accurate or authoritative, no matter what information they contained.
Metesky, who was later convicted of the Mad Bomber’s crimes, was a mature, tidy, unemployed, unmarried man of Slavic descent who lived with his sisters. When officers showed up at the house to arrest Metesky, he put on a double-breasted suit and buttoned the jacket. u THE FBI ’ S PROFILERS Profiling became established as a formal tool of crime investigation in the 1970s, largely due to the work of Howard Teten at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. THE ORIgINS OF pROFILINg After nearly a decade as a California police officer, Teten joined the FBI.
Criminal Profiling by Rebecca Stefoff