Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods


Profiling and Investigative Analysis

You have a chapter in Dark Dreams called "Linkage Analysis." What do you mean by that?

I'm referring to connecting two or more crimes through the offender's behavior, not through forensics or witnesses.

Is that another term for signature analysis?

I don't like the term "signature analysis." That implies that you are analyzing the signature, if one exists, and that's not what's taking place. I analyze crime behavior, seeking a signature to link the crimes. That's why I prefer "linkage analysis."

How is it different from profiling?

Profiling involves the study of a crime and its behaviors in an attempt to arrive at an opinion about the characteristics and traits of an unidentified offender. In linkage analysis, you are analyzing the crimes and their behaviors in an attempt to link the crimes with a signature. Profiling was the original consultative task of the FBI Behavioral Science Unit of which I was a member for 16-and-a- half years. Now it is simply one of many consultative tasks.

The term "Criminal Investigative Analysis" has become the umbrella term for multiple consultative tasks in which I and others from the Unit have been involved. The behaviorally-related tasks, among others, include "profiling," "equivocal death analysis," "linkage analysis," "investigative strategies," "trial strategies," "interview strategies."

Being one of the individuals who were there at the beginning of this approach to crime, I feel comfortable in developing new concepts and new ideas to match the time and the culture. There are a lot of people claiming to be "profilers" based on attending a two-day course, or reading articles. They tend to "make stuff up" as they go along. People interested in what we developed should be certain that their mentors are well grounded in the field through research and publications.

Well, thank you Roy for an interesting interview.

My pleasure, and I hope your readers will find Dark Dreams to be informative as well as interesting.

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