Haley Scholar Reading Groups
By Cindy Lyles
“Dangerous Minds: Criminal Profiling Made Easy” details the process of FBI criminal profiling, one that includes making predictions of an offender’s personality and practices based solely on their criminal activity. The “how to” books of famous FBI profilers from the past, along with the many detective and criminal profiling TV shows, offer simplistic, romanticized views of profiling. In this essay, however, Malcolm Gladwell shows how the process of profiling is more complex than it is cut and dry.
Through a series of profiling vignettes, Gladwell raises the question of whether the FBI’s profiling practices are sound and furthermore, helpful in catching perpetrators. A group of researchers oppose the idea of profiling a criminal from his/her criminal actions alone, including forensic scientist Brent Turvey, who is “highly critical of the FBI’s approach” (350). Turvey said, “The fact is that different offenders can exhibit the same behaviors for completely different reasons…You can’t just look at one behavior in isolation” (350). It is looking at criminals’ behavior in isolation that leads to unsound and vague predictions.
Even with its “hit or miss” nature, why would the FBI profilers discussed earlier in the essay argue that profiling shouldn’t be done away with? Or, with Turvey’s standpoint in mind, how can criminal profiling be refined?
i think that they should not just use criminal profiling. I think they say they should do away with it because in reality what they are doing is stereotyping a specific action or behavior to a criminal activity when you cannot just do that because like they said everyone who commits a crime does it for a different reason. You cannot just assume well he fits the profile of a serial killer when in actuality maybe the person killed 3 people because they felt unsafe and thought that was the only way to protect themselves but the way they went about would make them fit the profile of a serial killer when they actually would never kill anyone but they were pushed to that point. i think they need to not only take in account the criminal action being committed but the background of the person who committed the crime.
Criminal profiling can make assumptions that are incorrect. When it comes to a crime, authorities need to make sure they have all of the correct information/evidence. They should not make final decisions off of what the situation looks like, they should talk to the person and try to analyze any information.
I strongly believe that criminal profiling should be avoided because it can be very misleading. Criminal profiling is a fantastic way to have an innocent soul behind bars while the real criminal roams freely. Criminal profiling is based upon what is perceived to be the normal actions and behaviors of a perpetrator. What about those criminals that are well aware of what is expected of them and decide to commit the crime differently? Everyone thinks differently, and therefore act or behave differently. Also, just because someone has done wrong previously does not mean they have not changed. Some people actually do have a change of heart after doing wrong, and it is not fair that they become targets due to past actions or decisions. I think criminal profiling is a very inefficient way to catch the real offenders.
Although profiling is not a completely sound way finding criminals, it obviously has a very high success rate since the FBI has been using it for years. Yes, they are using stereotypes to pick and choose their suspects, but if it helps them catch a majority of their cases faster than they would have if they started out with no suspects than I believe it is helpful. I understand that it isn’t necessarily morally right, but I feel safer knowing that FBI and police departments are using techniques to get dangerous people off the street as soon as possible. If they didn’t use these profiling strategies, some criminals may have enough time to get away and they may never be caught.
I think criminal profiling can be effective to a certain extent. sure, its stereotyping but the stereotype would be based on that certain area which would ultimately make the assumption have a great chance of being correct! It may not be the best the way but it is definitely effective
I believe that profiling is not very accurate at predicting the perpetrator's personality. Assuming anything can lead to erroneous results. Even though there is a high rate of incorrectly predicting the criminal's personality and practices based on his or her criminal activity, some FBI profilers may find profiling helpful in narrowing hits.
Criminal profiling is not accurate and for better words used because of suspicion. Criminal profiling is a way of authorities assuming that someone is guilty of a crime when in reality they might not be. Just because a person has a criminal history does not always mean they will be a criminal. Instead of using criminal profiling and just assuiming that a person is guilty just because they meet a certain profile only evidence should be used to charge somebody.
I think that FBI profilers feel that criminal profiling should not be done away with because it gives them somewhere to start when trying to find a criminal. Even though it might not be perfectly accurate, profilers can use these techniques to narrow the field of suspects and start trying to find the criminal. This is important in cases where the FBI needs to capture the criminal as soon as possible, such as in serial killing cases. The FBI can then use these tendencies to find them quickly and possibly figure out where they will strike next and capture them before they can do so. Nevertheless, they cannot solely rely on these techniques because they might not always work, but they shouldn’t abandon them entirely because they can be helpful.
I think that profiling should be used and is effective. It gives the FBI to start from some where and most of the time it'll help catch the perpetrator by using 'educated guesses' of what they'll look like and behave like.
Although the profile might be completely wrong in every aspect, it still gives the FBI a lead and will with future profiling.
I think that criminal profiling can be used in combination with another technique. I do not think the FBI should soley rely on criminal profiling. For example, a man or woman make look suspicious but if they can not find any solid evidence, then the FBI should not rely on the profile. I think criminal profiling should be used as a back up to arrest people.
I think that criminal profiling is useful to an extent for singling out certain behaviors displayed by different types of criminals. Being able to isolate certain behaviors is helpful in that profilers can narrow down the number of suspects for a particular crime based on observable personality and behavioral quirks.
However, I do think that FBI and law enforcement officials shouldn't develop an over-reliance on profiling alone for making arrests and prosecuting people. Even if someone displays behaviors that might be deemed "criminal" or "deviant", it doesn't necessarily mean they will or have committed a crime, and relying solely on profiling to catch criminals might lead to an innocent person getting prosecuted. Law enforcement officials should use profiling in tandem with many other investigative measures, like forensics, before deciding to arrest someone.
Sorry for the late post, I thought this post was supposed to be on April 17. However, addressing Racial Profiling- I agree that it is sometimes done unjustly, but so are a lot of other things in the criminal justice field. Racial profiling has been shown to be beneficial to the strategic type of work the FBI does. Hopefully the profiling is based off of statistically factual data. Ignorant and unnecessary profiling is a different story and something I don't agree with. Stereotyping is certainly different than prejudice and racism, however, they can all be intertwined when it comes to racial profiling.
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