Criminal profiling methods

Wayne Petherick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter provides a theoretical and practical overview of the main criminal profiling methods in use. A criminal profile is an attempt to provide personality and behavioral clues about offenders based on their behavior and the evidence they leave behind. An organized offender is often said to be psychopathic, and is literally organized in most facets of his or her life, cleaning up his or her crime scenes, removing weapons and evidence, and even attempting to hide the body. Investigative psychology (IP) identifies profiling as only one part of the overall process. The provision of geographic profiling software, profiling units, and specialist geoprofilers gives the distinct impression that the approach is scientific and robust. The least effort principle, at its most fundamental level, suggests that given two alternatives to a course of action, people will choose the one that requires least effort. It is suggested that deductive approaches provide the most potential for an accurate evaluation because of their reliance on examinations of physical evidence and its meaning, and also because of the underlying power of deductive reasoning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSerial Crime
EditorsW Petherick
Place of PublicationBurlington, MA
Number of pages42
ISBN (Print)9780123749987
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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