Criminal profiling is a critical tool in the practice of forensic psychology. The validity of criminal profiling remains significant in the tracing of expert criminals and their consequent prosecution. This is because it is apparent that there are expert criminals who develop the habit with time and camouflage through various ways from the legal system. The case study for Dillon provided herein constitutes a perfect example where criminal profiling, as well as its validity, would be greatly applicable (Bartol & Bartol, 2012). The validity of the facts on which the criminal profile relies is critical because it helps the forensic psychologists as well as other criminal investigators to correlate diverse characters notable as deviant within the society. The valid information may also be used to complement the scientific analysis of specimens found within crime scenes. The criminal profiles can be useful in noting certain behavioral and mental conditions that can be associated. Valid research supports the psychological analysis of crime perpetrators and helps to analyze their behavioral patterns. Such information is also important in enhancing the development of further research and availing pertinent information inherent to specific criminal characters.
From the case study provided, it can be noted how Dillon’s psychotic character evolved right from the younger age when he loved hunting to the time he is engaged in human killing. Although his criminal deeds remained unknown for a long time, it is clear that the development of his criminal profile enhanced the investigation. It is thus clear that valid information about a criminal aid the establishment of a coherent criminal profile that may be useful for the public in providing the information about the key suspects (Taylor, 2012). The case study for Dillon provides the obvious merits of developing a valid criminal profile for most expert crime perpetrators. One major benefit of criminal profiling is that it is applicable in the study and examination of long-term perpetrators of criminal activities. It provides a basic matrix from which various criminal activities within the general society can be related or correlated to provide the actual causers (Alison, 2010). Additionally, it also provides a critical base for a forensic analysis of the traits associated with particular crimes.
It is also clear that there are obvious shortcomings that may arise from the information gotten from criminal profiling. Foremost, the sources of information for criminal profiling might be biased towards particular personalities. Information gathering as a procedure also has inherent biases and shortcomings that may lead to distorted information. Eventually, distorted information may lead to apprehension as well and consequent prosecution of innocent victims. Because most of the information used in criminal profiling is never formally, empirical, it might be easily challenged by defendants in a law court if not accompanied by solid evidence. Also, in cases where the information in the criminal profile is not coherent, logical, or organized, its admissibility in the court of law might raise legal debates and lead to loss of trust and confidence in the forensic psychologist or investigator (Alison, 2010). Criminal profiling is based on a matrix validity that is enhanced over a long time in the character of observation of the given suspects. For instance, the example in the case study provides entire information on the lifetime of Dillon.
The dependency of criminal profiling on public inquest is largely biased and sometimes might not be fruitful. However, it is observable that in cases where the information might adequately reach the public, the suspect may be identified. An example is illustrated when Dillon is found guilty of the murder offense through a rifle, he sold to another person far from his resident area. The validity of the information for criminal profiling also relies on secondary as well as primary data sources from the suspect’s acquaintances, relatives, friends as well as workmates (Taylor, 2012).
Secondary sources may include employment records as well as those documentations from ones’ schooling history. Such information may be prone or more susceptible to exaggeration or understatement depending on the respondent’s intentions. It is therefore important to note that such information cannot be empirically verified and to some extent remains informal. There is a great duration of time required to comprehensively profile a given criminal. This is likely to increase as well as overheads, notwithstanding the possibility of providing additional time for the criminal to carry out extensive damage in the society (Taylor, 2012). This is explicitly depicted in Dillon’s case where he has recorded a series of murder cases and destructive behavior on people’s private property for a long time before being discovered through criminal profiling.
Alison, L. (2010). Pragmatic solutions to offender profiling and behavioral investigative advice. Legal and Criminological Psychology, vol. 15: 115–132.
Bartol, C. & Bartol, A. (2012). Introduction to forensic psychology: Research and application. London: SAGE.
Taylor, S. (2012). Cluster Analysis Examination of Serial Killer Profiling Categories: A Bottom-Up Approach. J. Investig Psych. Offender Profile, vol. 9: 30–51.