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Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavior Evidence Analysis (2nd Edition) by Brent Turvey. 2002. San Diego: Academic Press.


   Criminal profiling (also referred to as, psychological profiling, behavioral evidence analysis, or investigative analysis) is an attempt to identify the demographic and personality characteristics of offenders based on the evidence of their behavior left at crime scenes. This book describes the process, competing theories, and limitations of criminal profiling. Turvey begins with a history of criminal profiling, with origins in Lombrosos theories about criminal types, and continuing through the development by the FBI Division of Behavioral Science of their famous criminal profiling program.

   The heart of the FBI's process of criminal profiling is the use of inferences based upon their studies of serial killers and rapists. As explained by Turvey, these studies correlate the personality and demographic characteristics of known offenders with identified behavior at their crime scenes. He calls this approach inductive profiling and contrasts it with what he calls deductive profiling. Deductive profiles, according to Turvey, are based upon the totality of evidence that is observed and the behavior identified at a particular crime scene or series of crimes. Turvey also rejects the widely used categorization of crime scenes as organized versus disorganized, feeling that this also constrains the profiler unnecessarily.

   Deductive profiling, as described by Turvey, is not constrained by inferences from scientific studies conducted by the FBI and others. He presents this as a strength because it gives more for the profiler to draw on; I see it as a weakness since it means that the profiles are based on unsubstantiated theories that may be nothing more than stereotypes and prejudices.

   Subsequent chapters provide an excellent introduction to forensic analysis and emphasize the importance of working closely with other forensic scientists and utilizing their knowledge base in interpreting the offender's behavior at the crime scene. It is through this analysis of the evidence at a crime scene that the profiler gains an insight into the offender's choices regarding the victim and the offense location. The coverage of the background and process of profiling provided in this book is comprehensive, well organized, and clear. While Turveys views are somewhat idiosyncratic, he presents both sides of the issues he takes his unorthodox positions on if not always in a completely balanced and objective fashion. This book would provide any reader with a good introduction to criminal profiling.