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artemis31386
03-11-2010, 03:55 PM
Okay so I have a two part question:
1) How does a criminal profiler work to figure out the profile of a suspect, especially in what looks like a multi-state homicide spree.
2) I know that when there is a serial killer or multi-state killings going on the FBI gets involved. What is the procedure for federal agents investigating these types of crimes--is it the same as local pd? When working with local pd to solve these types of crime, who gets jurisdiction or commanding authority. Does fed outrank local?

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks:-)

sciri
03-11-2010, 07:06 PM
I'm no expert, just an avid reader of mysteries. I'm sure other people with more specific expertise will pitch in, but here's a start: there's a national database called VICAP where usually detectives start from to check if certain aspects of the murder scene have been documented before. That's how they start piecing things together towards their unsub.
Once they have that, they consult a psychiatrist for the profiling.

The FBI website has lots of info, have you checked that out? In particular: http://www.fbi.gov/hq/isd/cirg/ncavc.htm
Wikipedia has some info, although pretty generic, but again, a start.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FBI_method_of_profiling

If you already have checked these out, then probably you were looking for a more specific answer, in which case I'm going to step out and leave to others more knowledgeable than me. :)

Don Allen
03-11-2010, 07:19 PM
They're is so much that go's into setting up a profile from evidence to type of victim, to time of day, to type of murder that you would be killing yourself trying to describe each facet, perhaps you can narrow the focus and concentrate on some specifics as Sciri mentioned.

ajkjd01
03-11-2010, 09:05 PM
There's actually a great book out there by Ronald Kessler (I believe) entitled The FBI that does a great job of laying out FBI organization, and also talks about their criminal profilers.

And the FBI also has a public information office, that may be willing to answer more specific questions, as they arise.

artemis31386
03-12-2010, 02:59 AM
I'm no expert, just an avid reader of mysteries. I'm sure other people with more specific expertise will pitch in, but here's a start: there's a national database called VICAP where usually detectives start from to check if certain aspects of the murder scene have been documented before. That's how they start piecing things together towards their unsub.
Once they have that, they consult a psychiatrist for the profiling.

The FBI website has lots of info, have you checked that out? In particular: http://www.fbi.gov/hq/isd/cirg/ncavc.htm
Wikipedia has some info, although pretty generic, but again, a start.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FBI_method_of_profiling

If you already have checked these out, then probably you were looking for a more specific answer, in which case I'm going to step out and leave to others more knowledgeable than me. :)

Thanks but I have tried these. I also tried googling (first resort). I want to try and make this as accurate as possible so as you can imagine I am looking deep.

artemis31386
03-12-2010, 03:01 AM
Thank you all. This is helpful

dgrintalis
03-12-2010, 03:32 AM
Okay so I have a two part question:
1) How does a criminal profiler work to figure out the profile of a suspect, especially in what looks like a multi-state homicide spree.
2) I know that when there is a serial killer or multi-state killings going on the FBI gets involved. What is the procedure for federal agents investigating these types of crimes--is it the same as local pd? When working with local pd to solve these types of crime, who gets jurisdiction or commanding authority. Does fed outrank local?

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks:-)

Robert Ressler and John Douglas are two former profilers for the FBI; both have written several books. The crimes themselves - the victims, their manner of deaths, body disposal, etc. - are what allow the agents to build the profile, e.g., the face was covered reveals that the killer shows remorse. Could be a first kill or the victim was someone the killer knew. Were there signs of sexual assault? If so, was it pre or postmortem? Is there a preferential victim type (Bundy's vics all had long, dark straight hair)? All of these things are pieces of the puzzle. It's not an exact science, but one born from years and years of studying serial crimes.

I believe when crimes are all local, the police department invites the FBI profilers. If the crimes are multi-state, then it becomes federal automatically.

Rowan
03-12-2010, 04:25 AM
I highly recommend you read John Douglas' book---at least one of them. That'll pretty much explain the entire process. The first one is called "Mindhunter" and it's a quick read. The FBI's public affairs office will also answer your questions...

http://www.johndouglasmindhunter.com/home.php

Horseshoes
03-12-2010, 04:37 AM
Profilers analyze crime scenes (microscopically as well as large scale--disorganized v. organized/ weapon types/ method of access to vics) and victims (including what that victim was doing the last 24 hours). For example, all victims are white and sexually assaulted--looking for a white guy --people tend to prey within their own race.
(Yes, I know there are exceptions. Yes, profilers know there are exceptions. Exceptions are, yanno, exceptions.)

Re whose case is it, it is not a matter of rank, but rather which agency takes jurisdiction. Feds work w/ locals (who often temporarily assign one of their dicks to the fed investigation team on serials) and vice versa. Multi-state, as you've noted, is going to be a Fed inv. Run with it.

ajkjd01
03-12-2010, 07:15 AM
Will second the recommendations for John Douglas and Robert Ressler's books.

artemis31386
03-12-2010, 08:21 AM
Thank you everyone. This has been very helpful. I now have a good starting point. :-)