The Origin and Art of Criminal Profiling
Southwest Baptist University
December 13, 2011
Criminal profiling is a process by which investigators attempt to solve a crime through careful analyzing of data and patterns. It can be found in numerous places throughout history, from the Roman Catholic Church to World War II to the present day. It officially began in the Behavioral Science Unit; Howard Teten, Pat Mullany, Robert Ressler, and John Douglas are four of the most well-known individuals associated with profiling. Numerous serial killers have been caught by using this process and it is suspected that the identity of Jack the Ripper would be known today had this technique been
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Howard Teten and Pat Mullany are the two credited as the fathers of the organization (Innes, 2005). Two notable agents of the BSU were Robert Ressler and John Douglas. Ressler, the one who is often credited with coining the term “serial killer”, aided in the apprehension of Jeffrey Dahmer and Richard Chase and Douglas is well-known for his studies of criminal behavior. The aforementioned men helped pave the way for profiling as it is today, but they were not your average people off the street. When asked about the traits a profiler must possess, another former BSU agent, Roy Hazelwood said: Common sense. Another term for that is practical intelligence. An open mind - you have to be able to accept other people's suggestions. Number three is life experience. Number four is an ability to isolate your personal feelings about the crime, the criminal, and the victim. Number five would be an ability to think like the offender thinks - not get into his mind. All you have to do is reason like he does. You don't have to get into his mind (Ramsland, 2011).
In a crime scene analysis study, there were six stages of the profiling process listed: profiling inputs, decision process models, crime assessment, criminal profile, investigation, and apprehension (Douglas, Ressler, Burgess, &