Criminal profiling is the process of identifying major characteristics of a criminal's personality and behavior based on a careful analysis of the crimes they have committed (Woodworth 246). The method of criminal profiling is quickly becoming increasingly popular to use in criminal investigations. Despite its popularity, the process is met with much controversy because of a debate over whether it is useful in the field of policing. The fact is that psychological criminal profiling is being incorporated into the crime field and is proving itself to be very helpful in police investigation and crime solving.
One of the most important elements the police have against unknown offenders is their behavioral profile. Douglas, Ressler, Burgess, and Hartman have divided the profiling strategy into five stages. The first stage is called profiling inputs. This is a stage that includes collecting all of information about the crime such as evidence, witness testimony, and so forth. The second stage is called decision process models. This is where a profiler takes all of the information gathered and begins to organize it into classifications such as type of crime, motive, and how the crime was carried out. Third is a stage of crime assessment where a profiler uses the information to recreate the behavior of the criminal. In the fourth stage, the criminal profile, a profiler constructs a preliminary description of the probable suspects such as race and sex. The fifth stage is the investigation, where a written report is given to investigators who then attempt to match the profile to the suspects to eliminate those who do not fit. Lastly, the sixth stage, the apprehension stage is where the right suspect is arrested as a result of the previous actions (Meyer profiling strategy). .
In order for a criminal profile to be successful, the profiler must be well educated in the subject. As of now, there are no educational requirements for criminal profilers.