Criminal personality profiling in the investigation of violent crime: Recent advances and future directions


  • Dr. Joseph T. McCann Psy.D.

    psychologist, Corresponding author
    1. Erie County Medical Center, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences of the State University of New York at Buffalo
    • Deparcment of Psychiatry, Erie County Medical Center, 462 Grider Street, Buffalo, New York 14215
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Criminal personality profiling is the process of analyzing various aspects of violent crime to derive a set of hypotheses about the characteristics of an unknown assailant. The ultimate goal of profiling is to assist in the successful apprehension and conviction of the perpetrator. Recent advances in the development of profiling as a forensic science are reviewed. While it is generally held that profiling is more art than science, there is evidence suggesting that greater scientific rigor can be attained. New methods of standardizing violent crime classification, the qualification of professional profilers as expert witnesses, and standard computerized data bases all point to the potential for a science of profiling. Future directions that may assist in expanding the empirical foundations of profiling are also discussed.