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Criminal profiling and the types of crime Essay

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Murder is the unlawful taking of human life It is a behavioral act that terminates life in the context of power, personal gain, brutality, and sometimes sexuality. Murder is a subcategory of homicide, which also includes lawful taking of human life, such as, manslaughter, deaths resulting from criminal and non- criminal negligence, and unpremeditated vehicular deaths (Megargee, 1982) With murder there are murders who sometimes go on for months without being caught for the murders they have done. But eventually, the murder catches on to them through the behavior of the murder.

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Behavior reflects the personality, everything observed at a crime scene tells a story and reflects something about the unknown subject who committed the crime. (Ressler, Burgess, & Douglas, 1988) Modus operandi and victimology are very important factors in an investigation. These terms could link a murder to different scenes of crime that they committed that they are not yet charged with.  Modus operandi is the method of procedure or a method of operation that suggests the work of one crime to other crimes. Victimology is the study of victims of crime. The offender often leaves signatures (something repeated at each crime, like slashes in the throat and a bullet between the eyes) which can point a profiler at the offender’s personality.

Criminal Profiling

Do you ever wonder what criminal profilers do? Criminal filer is a job that is different from other jobs people have. “Criminal profiling is defined and described as a technique whereby the probable characteristics of a criminal offender or offenders are predicted based on the behaviors exhibited in the commission of a crime.” (Kocsis 2006, p. 1) Due to a various amount of crime shows and social media criminal profiling meaning is often misinterpreted and the job is mixed up. Criminal profiler often examines the work a murder does and figures out their personality through crime. There are many different kinds of murderers and types of murders ranging from mass homicide, rape, computer crimes, etc.

Homicide. Homicide can be classified by the number of victims, style, and type of homicide. One person is defined as a signal homicide, two victims killed in the same location around the same time is a double homicide and lastly, a triple homicide is three victims killed in the same location around the same time. Unlike homicide mass murders have “two subcategories of mass murder: classic mass murder and family mass murder. A       classic mass murder involves one person operating in one location at one period of time,    which could be minutes or hours or even days…The second type of mass murder is family mass murder. If four or more family members are killed and the perpetrator takes his own life, it is classified as a mass murder-suicide. Without the suicide and with four or more victims, the murder is classified as a family mass murder.” (Ressler, Burgess, & Douglas,      1988) Usually, someone that commits a mass murder is a mentally ill individual whos problems have increased to the point where they act to groups of people who are unrelated to the problems. A Spree murder is a single event with more than one location and no cooling off to think before another murder.  A Serial murder is three or more events in three or more separate locations with a cooling off time. Gang motivated murder is the murder of a group of three or more that sometimes ends in homicide.

Arson and Bombing.  Arson is the crime of fire with the intent of harming someone or something. Arson is very hard to investigate due to all the debris, collapsed buildings, and ashes. But when investigating a fire scene you are to find where the fire originated from or started. If the fire does not seem to look like an accident it is a person. Crime scene investigators usually note from arsons that organized arsonist have electronic timing mechanisms, less evidence they were there, and have items to start fires with them. While disorganized crime has the materials with them on hand like cigarettes or lighter fluid, and they leave physical evidence. Aerial bombing is when one attacks a public place where there are to be a lot of people.

Rape and Sexual Assault. Rape and sexual assault include criminal offenses in which victims are forced or coerced to participate in sexual activity. Physical violence may or may not be involved. (Ressler, Burgess, & Douglas, 1988) Usually victims of rate are put into different categories depending on how old you are. Adults; at least eighteen years old and have the exception for mentally ill, brain impaired, or psychotic, adolescents; thirteen to seventeen years old who have reached puberty, children; twelve year of younger, lastly elders who are sixty or older. When someone reports a rape case the investigators are to see if it was a situational or preferential sexual motives. Examples of both situational and preferential sexual motives are described below:

Situationally motivated sexual assaults are those committed to fulfill sexual and other        needs without the elements of the offense being necessary for arousal or gratification (such as raping a woman because she is available and vulnerable). Preferentially motivated sexual assaults are those committed to fulfill sexual and other needs with some elements of the offense being necessary for arousal or gratification (for example, raping a woman because the offender cannot feel aroused or gratified without an unwilling partner). (Ressler, Burgess, & Douglas, 1988)

Sexual rituals are patterns of behavior or rituals that are hard for the rapist to change. Both preferential and situational sex offenders may have an MO, but the preferential offender is more likely to have a sexual ritual. (Ressler, Burgess, & Douglas, 1988)

Nonlethal crimes. There are criminal acts that begin as, and sometimes remain, nonlethal crimes. In some of the crimes, such as burglary, threats, and stalking, there may be no physical contact, and the victim is not physically injured. But the victim may fear for their life or the life of loved ones, so it is suggested you report these crimes to police. Communication threats are to cause harm by a threat, terrorist threats are a good example of a communication threat. Direct threats are aimed at a certain person while indirect threats are told in a vague manner. There are also written, letter, and symbolic threats to where something is sent to you or placed on a desk or inside a mailbox. We often hear physical threats a lot, our parents may threaten us by telling us they will take our phones if we do not do good on the test. Stalking is often another form of nonlethal crime, stalking is a form of following. Robbery is taking something that is not there,

The element of force differentiates robbery from embezzlement, larceny, and other types of theft. Armed robbery involves the use of a weapon. High- way robbery takes place outside and in a public place. Carjacking is the act of stealing a car from a victim, usually at gunpoint. Bank robbery is the robbing of banks and financial institutions. (Ressler, Burgess, & Douglas, 1988)

Computer and cybercrime. Not all crimes are going to be involved in person or through a threat some crimes are involved with cyber and computers. Computer crimes are when someone hacks into a computer system and puts malware that messes up and destroys the computers walls so that the person can take over the computer or destroy it. Virus are a good start to this computer crimes, virus are embedded in emails or music that we download illegally that damages the software or hardware on the computer. A worm is a code that damages computer files or slows the computer down, which comes from other programs like emails.  Trojan horses are programs placed on a computer to send and take information and send it to computer user who used the trojan. Cyberstalking is a use of following a target through social media which is typically like stalking. Money laundering is a crime used to make illegal funds appear to be legal. (Ressler, Burgess, & Douglas, 1988) Bank Fraud is when money is illegally obtained from on bank account and put into a different bank account. Cybercrime is costing the world $110 billion every year. But according to McAfee Inc. the cost is actually approximately $1 trillion. With all this money being spend on cyber crimes we could be finding new way on how to get rid of cancer or to help stop global warming.


Crimes come in all different shapes and sizes. Not all crimes need to be homicide or murder they simply can be someone taking over your computer with a virus. Being aware of all these different kinds of crime come in handy. Just remember when committing a crime Modus operandi and victimology are important factors in an investigation and if they don’t find you now they will find you in the future.



Burgess, A., Burgess, A., & Ressler, R. (1992). Crime Classification Manuel (Second ed.) (J. Douglas, Ed.). Jossey Bass A Wiley Imprint.

Geberth, V.J. (1983). Practical homicide investigation: Tactics, procedures, and forensic techniques. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Hyman, P. (2013). Cybercrime: It’s Serious, But Exactly How Serious?. Communications Of The ACM, 56(3), 18-20. doi:10.1145/2428556.2428563

Kocsis, R. N. (2006). Criminal profiling. [electronic resource]: principles and practice. Totowa, N.J. : Humana Press, c2006.

Pinizzotto, A. J., & Finkel, N. J. (1990). Criminal personality profiling: An outcome and process study. Law And Human Behavior, 14(3), 215-233. doi:10.1007/BF01352750

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