Friday, March 14, 2008

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: How Behavioral Profiling is Done

One aim of criminal profiling is to identify the kind of person who would have committed a crime in order to narrow the investigation focus and the pool of suspects. The behaviors exhibited by the perpetrator at a crime scene are but examples of behaviors the perpetrator will exhibit in the other areas of his life. In other words, we are all creatures of habit and comfort and we cannot radically change our thinking and actions just because we are now involved in an illegal activity.

The murder of UNC student president, Eve Carson, is a very good example of this truism. I was asked to profile the suspect recenty on a CNN Headline News and I said this offender would undoubtedly already be in the criminal justice system with a long record of crimes and likely include a number of crimes committed as a juvenile. I further said he would have committed a variety of crap crimes (as I call them) including such things as burglaries, robberies, and drug offenses. In other words, he is a lowlife and a hood, with impulsive, stupid, and violent behavior, and the police and the courts would be very familiar with him.

How can one determine this? Let's look at the behavior this offender used in the killing of Eve Carson. First of all, he is roaming around in the middle of the night which means to me he doesn't have much useful going on in his life. Secondly, he appears to have no car of his own because after he finished committing his crimes that night he pretty much drove back to where he started....he didn't feel like walking home. He no doubt is a menace to his own neighborhood or any neighborhood on a bus or metro line.

He killed Eve Carson over a few hundred bucks. He needed or wanted the money and apparently couldn't wait to get it. This shows impulsiveness and desperation which means he probably isn't working nor is he willing to think through a plan that could bring him cash without violence. This makes him a thug of the lowest degree.

Next, he drives to the ATM and sits with his face in full view of the camera with that extremely identifiable ballcap sitting on top of his head. This means he is stupid and arrogant and uncaring about his own freedom. He doesn't think or worry about tomorrow and the inside of a jail cell is not a foreign or frightening idea to him (probably he will just feel at home when he gets there). This behavior shows he has graced the inside of an institution or two in his short lifetime and his carelessness indicates his crimes will be of the down and dirty type, those not requiring anything more than audacity.

When 17-year-old Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. was arrested this week for Carson's murder, sure enough he had a criminal past including larceny, breaking and entering, car theft. He is also suspected of a homicide during a robbery. He was on probation at the time of Carson's death. His accomplice, 21-year-old Demario James Atwater, was also on probation at the time of his arrest and his criminal career included convictions for drug possession, breaking and entering, larceny, and felony possession of a firearm. Considering these two had these extensive records at their young ages, their juvenile records no doubt are lengthy as well.

Crime is a part of the normal rhythym of a criminal's life, not an aberration within it. Even so-called crimes of passion or one-off crimes committed by people with no criminal record are reflections of the perpetrator's mindset. This is why it is so important to not simply guess the offender's background and lifestyle by assigning him to some statisitical group but to really look at what he is doing when he is committing his crime. This is behavioral profiling and a study of behavior can be illuminating and useful within the context of a police investigation.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown


Preraphazon said...

You were right on target with that one, Pat. Very disorganized criminal.

I wish you'd been around 30years ago when a kid broke into my house and stole all my underwear! Back then, no one had a clue. If I'd known then what I know now, I'd have been even more terrified than I was, which is hard to imagine.

Pat Brown said...

Sadly, those pre-rape behaviors often still get downplayed by law enforcement who shrug their shoulders and just call him some weirdo. Yes, weirdo, but a weirdo who is obviously fantasizing about women and sexually violating them and is practicing invading their territory. Scary stuff indeed.