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6 PROFILING THE SERIAL KILLER: THE EFFICACY OF PROFILING The Myth and Reality of ProfiUng Case Example The Crime Assessment How Crime Assessment Works Power-Assertive Rape Murderer Dynamics Homicidal Pattern Suspect Profile Case Example Power-Reassurance Rape Murderer Dynamics Homicidal Pattern Suspect Profile Case Example Anger-Retaliatory Rape Murderer Dynamics Homicidal Pattern Suspect Profile Case Example Renee Powell Barbara Walsh Signature Analysis HITS Statistical Analysis Catching the Anger Retahatory Killer Anger-Excitation Rape Murderer Dynamics 129
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1 3 0 ROBERT D. KEPPEL AND WILLIAM J. BIRNES Homicidal Pattern Suspect Profile Case Examples Summary and Discussion References This chapter is about profihng: the magic, the myth, and the reality and how profiling relates to the core of the serial killer task-force investigation. Profiling can be central to a task force's ability to understand the nature of the offender they're looking for. Unfortunately, profiling can usually be a disaster leading investigators down wrong trails and prolonging the inves- tigation. Meanwhile the killer, either knowing for sure or by instinct that the poHce have incorrectly profiled him, throws monkey wrenches into the task force investigation by changing his modus operandi (MO) for no other reason than to trick the pohce. He becomes the fox doubling back on the hounds because he knows where the hounds are. Profiling can be central because in a serial killer task force investigation, especially one that's very quickly overwhelmed by information and that's very public and heavily covered by the press the public can place too much emphasis on it. For example, as in the DC sniper case, the frustration built up very rapidly as killings kept taking place before the very eyes of the police and none of the traditional methods—heavy surveillance, immediate crime scene response, intense canvassing of neighborhoods to find witnesses— seemed to yield the results to find the killer. As the frustration level builds among the rank and file detectives on whose backs the investigation rests and those at the top of the chain of command report to their civihan bosses that "today was just another day" have to go back to their offices with new deadlines and demands for a speedy resolution, the task force itself feels it. And when the media is out to show that it can solve the case before the task force can, because everybody's a Sherlock Holmes at heart, confidence erodes in the task force mission itself. Then someone announces that the official profile has arrived and sud- denly personnel beheve in the power of the profile. Somehow someone's pulling together a bunch of facts to come up with a prediction about the killer that will solve the unsolvable case. It's all part of the mystique of the profiler, as if he is Pharaoh's prophet. But when the profile doesn't help and the killer keeps on killing and victims turn up who don't fit the victim profile
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This note was uploaded on 03/14/2011 for the course ENG 102 taught by Professor Emelbekişoğlu during the Fall '11 term at Bilkent University.

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