How to Become a Criminal Profiler
Criminology is the study of crime, so it's not surprising
that some criminologists devote their lives to discovering what causes a
criminal mind to form in the first place. In order to assist investigators,
these criminal profilers help build general guidelines about the types of
people who are likely to commit specific crimes. Learn more about becoming a
What Is a Criminal Profiler?
Criminal profilers are investigators who focus on the
factors that influence criminal behaviour. They sift through data on past
crimes, cold cases, and convicted criminals to better understand what motivates
people to commit violent crimes, cybercrime, terrorism, and other crimes. Some
may even conduct face-to-face interviews with criminals.
Criminologists help bring at-large criminals to justice by
studying past criminal behaviour. They frequently work for national law
enforcement organizations such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and
Explosives (ATF) or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Criminal profiling differs from forensic psychology as well.
Criminal profilers spend their time developing hypothetical profiles of
potential criminals, whereas forensic psychologists work with actual victims,
criminal offenders, and court officials.
History of Criminal Profiling
Criminal profiling dates back to at least the time of Jack
the Ripper's murder spree in Victorian London. Detectives at the time worked
day and night to build a profile of the still unknown serial killer in order to
bring him to justice.
Since then, the field has grown in both effectiveness and
sophistication. The FBI established its Behavioural Science Unit in the 1970s.
Agents like John Douglas interviewed serial killers to learn more about what
motivates people to commit such pathological and extreme acts of routine
violence. Their analysis aided in the prosecution of numerous criminals and
served as the foundation for modern criminal profiling.
Criminal Profiler Job Description
Criminal profilers wear many hats. Here are a few key duties
and responsibilities to look for in a typical job description:
Examining crime scenes: While most criminal profiler jobs
require you to spend more time alone than in action, you must still be able to
perform crime scene analysis. The better you understand the crime scene, the
better you can determine the type of person who could commit such a crime.
Building psychological profiles: As you study criminal
behaviour patterns, you'll need to start creating unique profiles for different
types of cases. This will assist investigators in narrowing their suspect
pools. You'll provide your colleagues with a specific profile based on the
state you believe the perpetrator was in.
Conducting extensive research: You'll need to conduct
research on a regular basis, both abstractly and hands-only. This entails
combing through old cases as well as speaking with recent victims and
offenders. Criminal profilers frequently serve as expert witnesses in trial
courts due to the extensive amount of research they conduct.
Interviewing criminals: Speaking with criminals provides
insight into the workings of their minds. This aids in the identification of
at-large suspects who fit a similar profile. To put it another way, to do this
job well, you'll need both analytical and communication skills.
The Importance of Criminal Profiling
Criminal investigators and profilers lay the groundwork for
law enforcement officials to apprehend dangerous individuals. Their findings
assist detectives and police officers on the ground in better tailoring their
investigations to target people who are more likely to commit crimes. While the
criminal profiling process isn't perfect, it has helped victims and their loved
ones get justice.
How to Become a Criminal Profiler
To become a criminal profiler, you must devote years of
experience and education to your studies. Here are a few pointers to keep in
mind as you pursue this career:
Enroll in a law enforcement academy. Enroll in a criminal
justice program to supplement your regular education. Begin by researching your
local police department's training program. Before becoming criminal profilers,
many attended the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and worked as special
agents for the bureau. While this is an invitation-only and competitive
program, if you are accepted, it will set you up for success.
Improve your skill set. Criminal investigation analysis
necessitates a skill set that is as broad as it is deep. Along with perfecting
your investigative techniques, you'll need to hone your analytical abilities.
Criminal investigations are often bloody affairs, so you'll need to practice
emotional detachment to do your job well.
Get some experience. This specialized position is not for the faint of heart. You must have years of investigative experience in a related field to become a criminal profiler. Before applying to become a criminal profiler, consider a career as a local law enforcement officer, federal agent, or detective. You'll be a far more competitive candidate as a result.
Get a higher education. To become a criminal profiler, you'll need a bachelor's degree, if not a master's degree, in a field such as forensic science or psychology. Your education should demonstrate a thorough understanding of human behavior and criminology. This will allow you to be considered for positions in elite criminal profiling institutions such as the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) or the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime.