criminal profiling

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In investigative psychology, the analysis of the behaviour and circumstances associated with serious crimes in an effort to identify the probable characteristics of the perpetrator. It is used especially in cases of serial murder or rape. It can be traced back at least as far as the 1880s, when it was used in an unsuccessful attempt to catch the London serial murderer ‘Jack the Ripper’, and it came to prominence in the US when the FBI set up its Behavioral Science Unit in 1974. See also organized crime (1). criminal profile n. A description of the psychological and demographic characteristics of a person who is most likely to have committed a crime or (more usually) a series of crimes. [From Italian profilo a profile or outline representation of something, from profilare to sketch, from Latin pro for or in place of + filum a thread]

Subjects: Psychology.

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