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Criminal Profiling and the Magic of Fashion Police

Is criminal profiling the latest law enforcement craze? Does reality conflate with fiction to produce sleight-of-hand hoaxes? Has Hollywood tapped into the public imagination of myth and magic? If you recognize fiction over fact, how come so many have bought into it? Are we so obsessed with quick and easy solutions to crime that we chase every possibility? Well, these are just a few questions we could ask the myriad of so-called experts. You know, all the ones that have come up in the last decade. They appear on news programs offering self-induced solutions to some heinous crime. Some are retired law enforcement guys. Others are ensconced in the protective realm of their academic insignia. As such, the collective mental chaos clouds and confuses the reality of human crime. So instead of crime analysis, we have profiling. New names for old ways of following the same processes and procedures. But, in an age of fast food, quick answers, instant gratification, and quick solutions to every puzzle, we’ll chase any so-called new scheme. The fashion for new fiction is easy to accept, as long as they are marketed well, dressed well, and look pretty. Smoke and mirrors are everything to the deception of public reception. That’s at least what we see on TV. Where else, aside from police work, can so many outside the profession come to help police? The wide-eyed glee of solving sensational crimes comes from the drama of fictional portrayals.

But, that’s not very encouraging. If the police need so much help, from people who have never been in a patrol car or who have never walked, then why do we need the police? Isn’t that why we recruit, hire and train police in the first place? That is, be highly qualified, competent and expert in the field of criminology. And at the same time, aren’t we supposed to provide the resources to ensure that experience? Ok, with that being said, why all the psychic gurus anyway? Wait, maybe it’s that old idea about the “expert”? You know, if you’re from out of town, you’re carrying a briefcase, you’re wearing an expensive suit, you’re charging a huge consulting fee, you’re an expert. It also helps if you appear on the major networks, give some opinions and guess a lot of things. Actually, you can invent things. We call that theories. And, if you look good on camera, we’ll really believe what you’re saying. much easier

Why can’t we keep it simple? Go back to basics and pursue the fundamentals of good police work. One answer is that we are too impatient. Another is that we have to look good. The press, politicians and the public want shop windows. They think they need “nice stories with happy endings” to “feel safe” in a world of predators. Myth, magic and metaphor are important within the psychological need to explain the world around us. However, sometimes the illusions are translated into literal interpretations that encourage the dogmatic acceptance of ancient superstitions. So, with silver bullets, wooden stakes, and holy water, we hunt down the “demons.” Chasing “monsters” as “mind hunters” in a medieval gothic landscape, we make sure the cameras are rolling. With the invention of cinema, we are rushing to use generic templates of ever-increasing complexity. The paradox, of course, is that we think we are simplifying things.

Unlike the cloak-and-dagger antics of the “hunt,” why can’t we admit that human behavior isn’t easily catalogued, defined, or predicted? Let’s say, for example, that the old idea of ​​modus operandi, or MO, is a continuum. A continuous process of thought and action to carry out the motive, intention and desire. It’s not some mystical notion about killing “dragons” or getting into the “criminal mind”. If the “mind” is an illusion created by the cerebral processes of the brain, then how can you find it? Where do you look? Or for that matter, how do you get into it if it doesn’t exist? And, if you want to get “inside” the “criminal mind”, think like a normal human being. Because the only difference between them and us is the criminality of committing a crime. He brought his idea to reality. The rest of us are still thinking about it. We all do bad things. However, how can we know? You decide along a continuum of ideation. Good versus evil, a personal decision-making process. Fantasizing about this or that, we make decisions about what we want. Some of us choose to do heinous and cruel things to others. We all look for targets of opportunity.

For most of us, we will eventually do something wrong. Will it be a stop sign violation, cheating on taxes, breaching a contract, hitting a spouse, or something more devious? It all depends on how we think, right? The continuum continues from thought to realization. MO is a way of thinking about capabilities, skill sets, and earnings without the risk of discovery. So how easy is it to define, describe or define human behavior? Answer: not very easy. At best, the assessment of criminal behavior is reduced to creative guesswork. That’s what profiling does, it makes guesses. Therefore, basing the future success of an investigation on guesswork should be a suspect endeavor. The neurological processes of human thought are individually too complex. Thought, which leads to behavior, is multidimensional and, at the same time, mysterious. We really don’t know what a person is thinking at any given moment. All of that is hidden and buried in the dark corners of human motives, intentions and desires.

We only know what people are willing to tell us. If they turn out to be criminals, then how can we believe with absolute certainty in someone who commits crimes? Isn’t that why we call them criminals? They are deceitful, devious and dishonest. And, anything they say is open to question. The use of simplistic formulas, statistics and templates puts human behavior into small compartments. People can adapt, change motives, alter methods, and change their behavior. But, in the movies, a different story of magic, myth, and mystery is told. We tend to think that major crime scene investigations are too easy to solve. Just by “reading” the scene we were supposed to be able to see “the inside of the criminal mind”. Well, if the mind is an illusion created by brain chemistry, how can we “see” something that doesn’t really exist? So while “profiles” outline questionable possibilities, the need for good forensic evidence remains crucial to the overall investigation. Instead, a continuum of effective and efficient policing is essential. The fashions that form around fiction do not solve crimes. Good police work does. Crime scene reconstruction and analysis, proactive investigative tactics, aggressive patrolling efforts, articulated documentation, and evaluation of the behavior of those involved are elements within this continuum of operational investigation strategy.

TV shows are great for adding to the sleight of hand of police fiction. While entertainment is essential to our American culture, we stray from reality and fall asleep in urban legends. At the same time, these superficial and naive approaches to real life sooner or later infect public policy. Complacent politicians, reacting to public and media pressure, sooner or later interfere in police operations. An urgency, or hasty judgment, occurs, negatively impacting investigative efforts. Political acquiescence to find “feel good” solutions, stifle critical analysis of crime. That interferes with proactive and persistent policing. Instead, what we see is the magic of the urban legend in action. Profilers have become wizards in psychic hats throwing incredible parties of deep criminological solutions. The films portray such conjurers traveling from coast to coast, consulting and solving complex acts of human behavior. With unlimited budgets, overstaffed teams, and high-tech equipment, artists cast the spell of fast case closure. Proposing the most startling claims of cast-like criminals, they come to the aid of the criminal justice community, bailing out the police at the last moment. For some of us, it seems that we are losing the skillful art of the research process. The percentage of serious crimes that are solved appears to be declining. Despite stupendous innovations like the so-called successes of profiling, “crime scene reading,” and “entry into the criminal mind,” clearance rates appear to be suffering significantly across the country.

As a result of wishful thinking, the illusion of fallacies of inference leads us to the brink of faulty beliefs. The guesses are transformed and packaged in the fashion of fashionable deception backed by broad generalizations. Sometimes, we put on the layer of the latest things to do. Such a bias brings us to the science fiction of things like polygraphs and psychic investigators. Fooling ourselves with the delusion of quick, easy, and reliable solutions, we are quick to accept nebulous notions. To reassure a naïve public and a ratings-obsessed media, we inadvertently rush to embrace the latest trend in some theoretical criminological folly. In the end, however, the arrogance of research bias and preconceived notions must be reined in as necessary. Identifying the perpetrator, gathering the evidence and solving the case depends on the dedicated and determined efforts of competent police officers. Such efforts are based on valid foundations of logic, reason, and solid evidence.

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