Friday, July 5, 2013

Criminal Profiling: Behavioral Evidence Analysis

Excerpt from: Criminal Profiling: Behavioral Evidence Analysis, 4th Ed., by Brent E. Turvey, PhD.

Behavioral Evidence Analysis: Goals and Purpose
Perhaps the most common misconception about criminal profiling is that its main purpose is to achieve a static, inflexible result, not unlike a clinical diagnosis. The result is then presumably applied to a crime or series of crimes and can then be used to suggest precisely whodunit. This is evidenced by the persistent yet inaccurate belief that there is an average psychological or behavioral pattern or profile that describes a typical serial murderer, a typical rapist, or even a typical crime scene.

This clinical view of profiling regards clusters of offender behavior, and subsequent penal classifications, as potential mental health disorders that can be diagnosed for the purposes of recommending treatment or delineating cause. It is a highly desirable position to take if one is a mental health practitioner. However, the goals of offender assessment and treatment are unrelated to the goals of criminal profiling. Clinicians have treatment goals—profilers have explicit investigative and forensic goals.

Humans learn, change, and grow. Humans are also affected by time, place, and each other. Therefore a deductively rendered criminal profile cannot be regarded as a static, fixed result that will hold true for all time. It must evolve and must become more refined as it is checked against new evidence and related cases over time. That is to say, when a new offense is committed, when a new attack occurs or a new body is located, and when new evidence is collected and analyzed, the integrity of the criminal profile must be reassessed. 

A deductively rendered profile learns. New information is not used to support the old profile, or to pigeonhole the offender, or to rationalize investigative assumptions. It is used to make a more complete and more accurate profile of the offender responsible for the crime(s) at hand.

Behavioral evidence analysis, therefore, should be viewed not as a process aimed at a fixed result, but as an ongoing, dynamic, critical, analytical process that examines offender behavior as it changes over time. It is a criminological effort, not a clinical one.

The first responsibility of the criminal profiler, as opposed to the treatment-oriented clinician, is fact finding in a criminal investigation for the purpose of serving justice. 

Note: It is worth noting that the process of criminal investigation starts from the moment that law enforcement responds to a crime scene, and does not end until that case is completely out of the criminal justice system. For some cases, especially those involving homicide, this may never happen. It must also be noted that there are criminal investigators working hard for both sides of the courtroom in any legal proceedings, civil or criminal.

The profiler serves the justice system. The clinician serves the client/patient. This is an important difference in terms of ethical obligations when considering the potential goals and purposes of behavioral evidence analysis.

With that onus in mind, a criminal investigation of any kind should start with the assumption that every human on the planet is a suspect. That is to say, the suspect set is universal. One of the purposes of BEA is to assist an investigation, at any phase, in moving from that universal set of suspect characteristics to a more discrete set of suspect characteristics. It cannot typically point to a specific person, or individuate one suspect from all others. It can, however, give insight into the general characteristics of the offender(s) responsible.

This type of insight can be used to educate an investigative effort, as well as attorneys, judges, and juries in a forensic context (e.g., criminal proceedings, civil proceedings, and public hearings).

Behavioral Evidence Analysis: Contexts

Behavioral evidence analysis has two separate but equal contexts, divided not by the method that is employed to arrive at conclusions, but rather by their divergent goals and priorities. Goals and priorities are dictated by a necessity that is dependent upon when, in a given case, a profiler’s skills are requested. The two time frames typically include the investigative phase, before a suspect has been arrested (or before a defendant is taken to court with a lawsuit), and and the trial phase, while a suspect is being tried for a crime (or put on trial for damages).

The investigative phase of a criminal case gets a lot of the media attention and is the primary focus of popular fiction on the subject of criminal profiling. When we think of a criminal profiler, we have been conditioned to think of unsolved serial murder cases, and of remote locations where teams of forensic scientists work to recover decaying human remains. Profilers are often characterized as being socially alienated individuals, deeply troubled by their own selfless insights into the minds of the unknown offenders that they are hunting.

This view presented by fiction and the media not only is completely skewed but also is only the first half of the equation.

The trial phase is the second half of the equation, and has received much less explicit attention not only in the media but in the published literature. Although it is equally important, it often lacks the romance and drama associated with high-profile serial cases, making it less marketable.

Investigative Phase
The investigative phase involves behavioral evidence analysis of the patterns of unknown perpetrators of known crimes. Criminal profilers tend to be called in to extremely violent, sexual and/or predatory cases when witness testimony, confessions, and/or physical evidence have not been enough to move the investigation forward. The decision to call a profiler into an investigation is typically reactive, with agencies waiting months or even years (if at all) due to a lack of access to a profiler, or to a lack of understanding of what criminal profiling is and how it can aid an investigation.

Primary Goals

-Evaluating the nature and value of forensic and behavioral evidence in a particular crime or series of related crimes;

- Reducing the viable suspect pool in a criminal investigation;

- Prioritizing the investigation into remaining suspects;

- Linkage of potentially related crimes by identifying crime scene indicators and behavior patterns (i.e., modus operandi and signature);

- Assessment of the potential for escalation of nuisance criminal behavior to more serious or more violent crimes (i.e., harassment, stalking, voyeurism);

- Providing investigators with investigatively relevant leads and strategies;

- Helping keep the overall investigation on track and undistracted by offering fresh and unbiased insights;

- Developing communication, interview, or interrogation strategies when dealing with suspects

Trial Phase
The trial phase of criminal profiling involves behavioral evidence analysis of known crimes for which there is a suspect or a defendant (sometimes a convicted defendant). It takes place in the preparation for hearings, trials, and post-conviction proceedings. Guilt, penalty, and appeal phases of trial are all appropriate times to use profiling techniques, depending on the evidence at issue.

Primary Goals

- Evaluating the nature and value of forensic and behavioral evidence to a particular crime or series of related crimes;

- Helping to develop insight into offender fantasy and motivations;

- Developing insight into offender motive and intent before, during, and after the commission of a crime (i.e., levels of planning, evidence of remorse, precautionary acts, etc.);

- Linkage of potentially related crimes by identifying crime scene indicators and behavior patterns (i.e., modus operandi and signature)

Brent E. Turvey, MS - Forensic Science; PhD - Criminology
Author of:

Turvey, B. (2011) Criminal Profiling, 4th Ed., London: Elsevier Science

Turvey B. (2013) Forensic Fraud, San Diego: Elsevier Science

Savino, J. & Turvey, B. (2011) Rape Investigation Handbook, 2nd Ed., San Diego: Elsevier Science

Thursday, June 27, 2013

IAFC Board of Directors: Criminal Profiling Professional Certification Act ratified

Modern criminal profiling owes itself to a diverse history. Researchers have determined that is grounded in the study of crime and criminal behavior (criminology); the study of mental health and illness (psychology and psychiatry); and the examination of physical evidence (the forensic sciences). However, despite its many forms, it has always involved the inference of criminal characteristics for investigative and judicial purposes. 

The reasoning used to support a given profile, however, has not always been consistent. It has ranged from a basis in statistical argumentation, to examining specific criminal behaviors, to subjective intuitive opinions based on personal belief and experience. In other words, profiling methods have only ever been as informed and accurate as the professionals behind them.

The variety of profiling methods used around the world, across agencies and analysts, has resulted in a state of professional confusion. Profilers are often poorly educated in the forensic and behavioral sciences (if at all), and consequently they are confused about who they are and where they fit within the criminal justice system. Other criminal justice professionals recognize and are confused about the same things, resulting in more than a little skepticism and even animosity. The media adds to myth by portraying profilers as supercops; and the general public often views profilers as a more specialized form of psychic. Ultimately, many inept and uneducated profilers are benefiting from this lack of professional cohesion and the ignorant misperceptions it allows to persist - and the justice system is being duped.

If criminal profilers are to be taken seriously in the twenty-first century, as professional operatives with substantive contributions to offer the justice system, then there are areas in which reforms need to be made. Education and training must be the first.
In 1998, The Academy of Behavioral Profiling (ABP) was formed to address this concern. It’s first meeting was held in March of 1999, in Monterey, California. In 2009, the ABP became The International Association of Forensic Criminologists (IAFC). Those who participate in this organization are determined to build something meaningful and legitimate within the profiling community. A multi-disciplinary effort comprised of forensic, behavioral, and investigative professionals, it has developed the first professional code of ethics for criminal profilers, the first written criminal profiling guidelines, and the first profiling general knowledge exam (PGKE).

Earlier this month, the IAFC also passed the Criminal Profiler Professional Certification Act (CPPCA) of 2013. It is based on the body of literature developed by IAFC members since 1999, and is intended to facilitate training integrity across agencies and jurisdictions.

As explained by Det. John J. Baeza, a retired sex crimes investigator formerly with the NYPD’s Manhattan Special Victim Squad, and also a founding member of the ABP: “The new certification act developed and ratified by the IAFC is a much needed and welcome development in the field of Forensic Criminology. Upon completing the process successfully, IAFC members will be conferred by the ABP Board of Examiners with the designation of Diplomate-ABP, the highest credential for criminal profilers within the organization, the United States, and internationally.” 

Criminal Profiling, 4th Ed.
Another founding member is Brent Turvey. He holds an MS in Forensic Science, a PhD in Criminology, and is the author of Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis, currently in its 4th edition. He makes the following observations: “From news coverage of major cases to court proceedings, criminal profilers can be found giving their opinions. Often these are accepted based on trust and even a little ignorance, without any real scrutiny of professional credentials. But a close look at even those from federal agencies reveals an absence of relevant education. Profilers can often be found with no formal education, online degrees from diploma mills, or degrees in subjects such as music and animal physiology. Many will outright lie about their degrees and experience. Frankly, it’s professionally embarrassing, or at least it should be.” The CPPCA, Dr. Turvey argues, is necessary to cleave the qualified professional from those without actual credentials, those who simply hold a job title, and those who perform research without doing any casework. 

Dr. Shawn Mikulay, a PhD level psychologist and the current Vice-President of the IAFC, is in agreement. He warns that: “As the field of forensic criminology and criminal profiling becomes increasingly accepted by the courts, it is critical a standard be put forth to identify those individuals who have been appropriately trained, educated, and mentored. With an increasing awareness of wrongful conviction, practitioners need to demonstrate that they have the ability to do their job competently. They also need to demonstrate that they understand and maintain the ethical standards to do it correctly.” The CPPA, Dr. Mikulay argues, is a major step towards accomplishing this.

Dr. Stan Crowder, a retired U.S. Army Military Police Colonel and former Chief of Investigations for the Inspector General of Georgia, is the current President of the IAFC. He made the following statement: “The Diplomate status afforded to IAFC members by the CPPA is designed to reveal the knowledge, skills, and abilities of hard working, evidence-based investigators. Not only does the credential require higher education, experience, and tenacity of purpose, it requires proofs of ability, an understanding of the scientific method, and a peer-reviewed process that rivals intensive academic gauntlets.” Dr. Crowder, unimpressed with the phony credentials and weak training requirements that mark many of those in government service, went on to observe: “The bottom line is: this credential cannot be purchased; it must be earned via intensive learning, proven ability, and peer approved reviews.”

For More Info...
The Diplomate credential ratified in Criminal Profiler Professional Certification Act is exclusively available to members of the IAFC. The entire Act can be found online at: their are profilers hard at work towards earning this credential in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Portugal.

For more information, visit The International Association of Forensic Criminologists website at:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

ECC - Crime Scene Analysis & Criminal Profiling Seminar, May 2013

Forensic Solutions, LLC and the International Association of Forensic Criminologists are pleased to sponsor this two day training event, in conjunction with Elgin Community College, next week.

This is a two (2) day session where students will learn theory and practice through the structured examination of case study material. The first day will involve the theory and practice of an holistic approach to crime reconstruction. The second day will involve the theory and practice of crime scene analysis. Each day will culminate in group work with actual case material.

This workshop is open to the public, and is strongly recommended for students and professionals who are working or studying in areas related to:

  • Criminology
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Criminal Justice
  • Forensic Nursing
  • Forensic Science
  • Law Enforcement
  • Legal studies
  • Mental Health/ Counseling
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Women's Studies
  • Victimology

Elgin Community College
1700 Spartan Drive
Elgin, Illinois 60134

ECC Students:                    

$35 USD

Non-ECC Students:            
$60 USD

Law Enforcement/

$95 USD 

Non-Student/ Public:           
$115 USD 

May 23-24, 2013
9:00AM - 5:00PM Daily

Brent Turvey, PhD
Email: bturvey@forensic-science.comPhone: 907-738-5121

Shawn Mikulay, PhD
Phone: 847-214-7963

Those interested in registering for this workshop may pay by check, money order, or Visa/ MC.
 ECC students can concurrently enroll in PSY220.100 for course credit. See or contact Shawn Mikulay ( for more information.

Check or Money Order
Make all checks or international money orders payable to Forensic Solutions, LLC in US Dollars. Also, provide your name, employment/ student information, and contact information including phone and email so that we can contact you and send updates.

Mail to:
ECC Seminar c/o
Forensic Solutions, LLC
P.O. Box 2175
Sitka, Alaska 99835 

Visa/ MC
Click on the appropriate link below.
ECC Students:                 $35 USDREGISTER NOW!

Non-ECC Students:                       $60 USD

Law Enforcement/ Government:  $95 USD

Non-Student/ Public:                     $115 USD


Brent E. Turvey, Ph.D.
Forensic Scientist/ Criminal Profiler 

Brent E. Turvey holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with an emphasis on Forensic Psychology, and an additional Bachelor of Science in History. He went on to receive his Masters of Science in Forensic Science after studying at the University of New Haven, in West Haven, Connecticut. He also holds a Ph.D. in Criminology from Bond University.

Since graduating in 1996, Brent has consulted with many government agencies, law enforcement agencies, and private attorneys in the United States, Australia, China, Canada, Barbados, Korea and Scotland on a range of rapes, homicides, and serial/ multiple rape/ death cases, as a forensic scientist and criminal profiler. This includes cases under investigation, as well as those going to trial. He has also been court qualified as a forensic expert in the areas of criminal profiling, forensic science, victimology, and crime reconstruction, providing expert examinations and courtroom testimony in legal jurisdictions throughout the United states for the last 17 years.

He is the author of Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis, 1st, 2nd , 3rd, and 4th Ed. (1999, 2002, 2008, 2011); and co-author of Rape Investigation Handbook, 1st and 2nd Ed. (2004, 2011); Crime Reconstruction, 1st and 2nd Ed. (2006, 2011); and Forensic Victimology (2009) - all with Elsevier Science.

Brent is currently a full partner, Forensic Scientist, Criminal Profiler, and Instructor with Forensic Solutions, LLC (, as well as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Sociology and Justice Studies at Oklahoma City University. He is also the Secretary of the Academy of Behavioral Profiling, as well as a member of their board of directors.

Shawn Mikulay, PhD
Professor of Psychology

Dr. Shawn Mikulay (pictured right) is a Professor of Psychology at Elgin Community College in Elgin, Illinois where he teaches coursework in general, forensic, developmental, and experimental psychology, human sexuality, and criminal profiling. Dr. Mikulay has been with Elgin Community College since 1995.

Dr. Mikulay received his Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology from Northern Illinois University (1998). He received his Master of Arts in Psychology (1995) and Master of Science in Industrial Management (1996). During graduate school, he taught as an adjunct instructor at Concordia University, Kishwaukee College, Waubonsee Community College, and Elgin Community College.

His research has been published in Genetic, Social, & General Psychology Monographs, Educational & Psychological Measurement, and the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

He is currently the vice-president of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

Dr. Mikulay's areas of research and expertise include workplace deviance, forensic victimology, behavioral analysis, offender modus operandi, and offender signature behavior.