Criminal profiling and its role in law enforcement – As far back as the late 19th century, investigators used psychology to understand and attempt to apprehend infamous killers such as Jack the Ripper. In those days however, law enforcement often lacked reliable information to follow up on, relying instead on witness testimony and conclusions they could draw from victims and crime scenes. Since those rudimentary examinations, the tools and techniques available to law enforcement officers have evolved significantly, including advances in technology and improvements in forensic science.
Pioneers such as former FBI Special Agent John Edward Douglas were able to master and develop a criminal profiling methodology that is still in use today. By interviewing serial killers, terrorists and other violent criminals, Douglas was able to research the psychopathologies and behavioral abnormalities of serious criminals, beginning the process of identifying patterns and correlating behaviors.
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