The FBI's Crime Scene Analysis involves six steps that collectively

The FBI’s Crime Scene Analysis involves six steps that collectively make up their
profiling process These steps include Profiling Inputs, Decision Process Models,
Crime Assessment, The Criminal Profile, The Investigation and The Apprehension.
A brief explanation of each step shall be discussed below.
Profiling Inputs:
This involves the collection and assessment of all of the materials relating to the
specific case. This would typically involve any photographs taken of the crime scene
and victim, a comprehensive background check of the victim, autopsy protocols,
other forensic examinations relating to the crime, and any relevant information that
is necessary to establish an accurate picture about what occurred before, during or
after the crime. This stage serves as the basis for all others, and should incorrect or
poor information be provided, the subsequent analysis will be affected.
Decision Process Models: This stage simply involves arranging all of the information
gathered in the previous stage (Profiling Inputs) into a logical and coherent pattern.
This might also include establishing how many victims were involved, for example,
with the purpose of establishing whether the crime was the result of a serial
Crime Assessment:
This stage would typically involve the reconstruction of the sequence of events and
the specific behaviours of both the victim and perpetrator. This will aid the analyst
in understanding the "role" each individual has in the crime and should assist in
developing the subsequent profile of the criminal.
The Criminal Profile:
This is the process of providing a list of background, physical, and behavioural
characteristics of the perpetrator. In the FBI model, this stage may also involve
providing the requesting agency with directions on how to most appropriately
interview the individual. This stage would also inform investigators how to identify
and apprehend the perpetrator.
The Investigation:
Here, the actual profile is provided to requesting agencies and incorporated into
their investigation. If no suspects are generated, or if new evidence comes to light,
the profile is reassessed.
The Apprehension:
It is stated that the purpose of this stage is to cross check the profile produced with
the characteristics of the offender once they are apprehended. This would
occasionally be extremely difficult as the offender may never be apprehended,
apprehended in another jurisdiction and not available for cross checking, arrested
on some other charge, or simply cease criminal activity. As will be illustrated
shortly, the rate of solved cases represents less than 50% of cases profiled and so
this stage may never be tested.
The primary foundation of the FBI’s system lies within the organised and
disorganised offender dichotomy. The table below illustrates the differences between
the organised and disorganised offender [Reference 4].
Organised Offender
Average to above
average intelligence
Below average
Socially competent
Socially inadequate
Skilled work
Unskilled work
Sexually competent
Sexually incompetent
High birth order
Low birth order
Father’s work stable Father’s work
childhood discipline
Harsh discipline as a
Controlled mood
during crime
Anxious mood
during crime
Use of alcohol with
Minimal use of
situational stress
Minimal situational
Living with partner
Living alone
Mobility with car in
good condition
Lives/works near the
crime scene
Follows crime in
news media
Minimal interest in
news media
May change jobs or
leave town
Significant behaviour
change (e.g. drug or
alcohol use)
Other individuals are highly critical of the FBI’s methods also. It is argued that
federal agencies have little experience in actually investigating murder cases, and
that it would be better for local agencies to train their own officers in the intricacies
of such investigations [Reference 10]. It is further stated that there are a number of
conditions by which an organised offender may leave a disorganised crime scene,
including (but not limited to) offenders who are acting out of retaliation, domestic
violence related offenders, interrupted offences, and offences involving controlled
substances (drugs etc.,) [Reference 6]. This would lead the analyst to incorrectly
provide the characteristics of one group of offenders as the profile, when the
perpetrator actually possesses the characteristics of the other group.
Despite these criticisms, the FBI’s method remains one of the most widely taught
methods in the world today. It is common practice for agents from various police
forces around the world to travel overseas and take part in the Bureau’s Fellowship
Program, where they are taught this profiling method, amongst other training in
areas such as criminal investigation.