A criminal profiler analyzes criminal cases and develops behavioral and personality profiles of criminals. Usually, a person in this field has spent an extended amount of time studying psychology and criminal behavior in order to learn how the criminal mind works and the patterns of behavior criminals demonstrate. An individual who becomes a criminal profiler doesn’t solve crimes, however. Instead, he provides those attempting to solve crimes with profiles of the perpetrators, helping them to zero in on the type of person who commits certain crimes and ultimately catch criminals.
Sometimes a criminal profiler is called on to create a profile of a serial killer. To do so, he may evaluate details of crimes scenes and even information about the victims to draw important conclusions about the criminal. For example, a serial killer may seem to focus on victims of a certain race and with a particular color hair or body stature. Details about the victims, the manner in which they were killed, and clues the criminal left behind may help a profiler draw conclusions about the person responsible. Even the location in which the bodies were found may help a profiler deduce such things as the criminal’s race, age, and agenda.
In most cases, criminal profilers spend most of their work time in their own offices, pouring over information collected by a law enforcement agency or involved in other research. For example, criminal profilers may spend a significant amount of time researching and studying past crimes. By doing so, they may be able to draw conclusions about criminal behavior that prove helpful in creating criminal profiles in future cases.
Though the main part of a criminal profiler’s job is usually profiling criminals, he may also take on other tasks. For example, a person in this career may teach law enforcement officials, helping them to apply profiling to solving crimes. A criminal profiler may also teach psychologists and students hoping to begin careers as profilers. He may even provide instruction for individuals who work in crime labs.
Sometimes a criminal profiler may also appear in court as an expert witness. In such a case, he may share expert knowledge of the case at hand. He may also provide some background information regarding criminal profiling itself.
A person who wants to become a criminal profiler may begin this career by earning a degree in psychology or criminology. He may then pursue a career in law enforcement or choose to work as a freelancer. It is worth noting that people who pursue this career are often called investigators instead of profilers.