Offender Profiling is a process that aims to narrow down the suspect pool and prioritize the most likely type of perpetrator responsible for the crime. This is one of the concepts Investigative Psychology introduces to law enforcement to assist in its efforts to mitigate if not prevent criminality and ensure public safety.
This session’s instructor is Gabrielle Salfati. She is a Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Investigative Psychology Research Unit at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She’s also a trailblazer in the new field of Investigative Psychology that utilizes empirical approaches to solving crimes.
Specifics she discussed in this webinar include:
- The concept of offender profiling, what it aims to achieve, and the limitations of the process.
- How investigative psychology and offender profiling coincide with the goals of law enforcement in solving serial crimes through intelligence materials and the right investigative approach.
- A brief overview of Investigative Psychology, its inception, important areas, and key components.
- The behavioral analysis elements of the crime scene and their role in the offender profiling process.
- Zeroing in on sex workers as vulnerable victims
- Statistics that illustrate how sex workers tend to be targeted as victims of serial sex offending.
- Similarities of offenders who target sex workers in terms of their criminal background and choice of victims, and their difference to offenders who target other types of victims.
- The Sex Worker Homicides And Sexual Assaults Project that demonstrates the challenges that come with focusing on victimology when trying to understand serial crimes perpetrated on sex workers.
- A case study that illustrates the three series scenarios that involve sex workers as victims and looks into:
- Differentiating offenders who only target sex workers versus those who target both sex workers and non-sex workers.
- The number of victims and length of time before a series is solved and an offender is apprehended in each scenario.
- Qualities of the first crime incident that can help predict the type of series it can turn into.
- Information about the crime scene that are critical in offender profiling.
- Classifying the crime scene based on actions done before, during, and after the crime, the planning involved to commit the crime, the weapon used and the level of violence committed, and the presence of sexual assault.
- The three crime scene subtypes that resulted from the process of classification.
- The results of the study that confirmed how offenders had a dominant style.
- Key points in the process of linking one incident with another to form a series.
- The external factors taken into account that look into the crime scene and the offenders’ behavior.
- Internal factors that influence the analysis of behavioral consistency as it relates to human development.
- Recognizing nuances to find similarities within cases to create a series and differentiation between series.
- The fact that offenders do not always exhibit consistent behaviors from crime to crime.
- The importance of looking at the whole series as a crime event to understand the trajectory and how doing so increases the ability to link a series.
- The process of offender profiling which then identified offender characteristics and the three main types that offenders tend to fall into based on these characteristics.
- The final phase of the process where actions in the series are linked to the characteristics of the offender.
- A means to predict the profile of the offender based on their actions and the victim they targeted at the first crime.
- Question raised on the tendency of a serial offender to target adults and/or children.
Webinars with this Speaker
- Burnout in Law Enforcement and First Responders
- Feb 17: Linking Serial Sexual Offences: The Latest Science
- March 29: Offender Profiling & Serial Sexual Offences: The Latest Science (this webinar)
Resources and Handouts
- Handout: References
- Handout: Resources and Contact Info
- Handout: Certificate – Investigative Psychology
- “The program in whole was Awesome!!!” — Mike
- “Dr. Salfati’s presentations are always interesting and informative. I wish they were a little longer to cover everything thoroughly that she has to share. Thank you!” — Annette
- “Gabrielle Salfati was very informative and extremely knowledgeable on the info.” — Reba
- “Great Information and enjoyed updates.” — Catherine
- “Offender profiling concerning sexual offenses and how the actions before/during/after the crime are highly important.” — Christopher
- “How to sort offenders into a certain type of profile and then link that profile to an offense…gives law enforcement a place to start, a tool to assist with locating and identifying a suspect.” — Tracey
- “Just Gabriele! She is always so well-versed and clear with her teachings!” — Valarie
- “I will attend anything Dr. Salfati presents on. She is amazing.” — Joni
The American Society of Evidence–Based Policing is a non-profit organization started by working police officers designed to drive the national conversation towards ensuring that the least harmful, most effective, fairest, and safest strategies are employed to prevent crime, reduce harm, and improve community wellness.