'To catch a criminal, you have to think like one!' A critical examination into the theories of serial killing and how criminal profiling can aid and hinder the investigative process

Kennedy, Alice (2007) 'To catch a criminal, you have to think like one!' A critical examination into the theories of serial killing and how criminal profiling can aid and hinder the investigative process. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This literature based research sought to get to grips with the behaviour of serial killers which has fast become an area of interest throughout the world. The most relevant biological, psychological and sociological / socio-cultural theories are critically examined, as applied to serial killers. Discovering that a multi-disciplinary approach is a better way of explaining their complex behaviour, the current problems associated with the investigation of serial murder are addressed. Using the prominent work of Steven Egger (2002) as a framework, issues of communication and organisation are discovered, questioning a need for future improvement in such areas. By reviewing the many problems faced by investigators, the dissertation then critically examines the role of criminal profiling as an alternative tool in the overall investigatory effort, and also as a method of helping us to comprehend the behaviour of serial killers. It is discovered that the process of inferring personality characteristics from the killer's crime scenes, makes profiling a particularly relevant discipline in terms of comprehending their behaviour. However, negative aspects such as inaccuracy, ambiguity, lack of empirical testing, validity and others make the discipline debatable. To finally build a clearer picture of the behavioural science, and discover what it has to offer in terms of understanding homicidal behaviour and its value within an investigation, the key themes and points raised are applied to relevant cases. The findings suggest that it can be of use to future investigations if the discipline is seen to adopt a more professionalised practice.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:47
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:13
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/331

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