Legal Dictionary

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Criminal Profiling

Criminal profiling is a law enforcement investigative tool used to identify perpetrators of crime by creating profiles of offenders. A criminal profiler will analyze all the evidence from a crime scene including photographs, sketches, witness interviews, autopsy reports and all other relevant information. The perpetrator's criminal profile will be created from this analysis.

A variety of perpetrator traits can be deduced from a crime scene, including personality aspects; sex; age; ethnic or religious background; and physical characteristics such as height, weight and disfigurements. Investigators will attempt to find suspects who fit the criminal profile. Criminal profiling, which was developed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been popularized in television programs and movies like Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Profiler, Criminal Minds, CSI and movies like Silence of the Lambs.