Category Archives: Criminal Profiling

Violent Crime Scene Analysis: Modus Operandi, Signature, and Staging

By John E. Douglas, Ed.D. Special Agent
Chief of the Investigative Support Unit FBI Academy

and

Corinne Munn
Served as Honors Intern FBI Academy

This Article Originally Appeared in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, February 1992.

Most crime scenes tell a story. And like most stories, crime scenes have
characters, a plot, a beginning, a middle, and hopefully, a conclusion. However,
in contrast to authors who lead their readers to a predetermined ending,
the final disposition of a crime scene depends on the investigators assigned
to the case. The investigators’ abilities to analyze the crime scene and
to determine the who, what, how, and why govern how the crime scene story
unfolds.

To ensure a satisfactory ending, that is, the apprehension and prosecution
of the violent crime offender, investigators must realize that the outcome
depends on their insight into the dynamics of human behavior. Speech patterns,
writing styles, verbal and nonverbal gestures, and other traits and patterns
give shape to human behavior. These individual characteristics work in concert
to cause each person to act, react, function, or perform in a unique and
specific way. This individualistic behavior usually remains consistent,
regardless of the activity being performed. Continue reading

The Criminal Sexual Sadist

By Robert R. Hazelwood, M.S.
Special Agent
National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime
FBI Academy
Quantico, Virginia

and

Park Elliott Dietz, M.D.,
Forensic Psychiatrist Newport Beach, California
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
and Biobehavioral Sciences
University of California at Los Angeles

and

Janet Warren, D.S.W.
Assistant Professor
Institute of Law Psychiatry and Public Policy
University
of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia

This Article Originally Appeared in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin,
February 1992.

Any investigator who has taken a statement from a tortured victim or who
has worked the crime scene of a sexually sadistic homicide will never forget
the experience. Human cruelty reveals itself in many kinds of offenses, but
seldom more starkly than in the crimes of sexual sadists.

This article describes the more commonly encountered actions of sexual sadists
and differentiates sexual sadism from other cruel acts. It also describes
the common characteristics of sexually sadistic crimes and offers investigators
suggestions that they should follow when confronted with the crimes of the
sexually sadistic offender. Continue reading

The Criminal Behavior of the Serial Rapist

By Robert R. Hazelwood, M.S.
Special Agent Behavioral Science Instruction/Research Unit Quantico, VA
and
Janet Warren, D.S.W.
Institute of Psychiatry and Law University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA

This Article Originally Appeared in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, February 1990.
From 1984 to 1986, FBI Special Agents assigned to the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) interviewed 41 men who were responsible for raping 837 victims. Previous issues of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin provided an introduction to this research1 and the characteristics of the rapists and their victims.2 This article, however, describes the behavior of these serial rapists during and following the commission of their sexual assaults. The information presented is applicable only to the men interviewed; it is not intended to be generalized to all men who rape.

Premeditation

The majority of the sexual attacks (55-61%) committed by these men were premeditated across their first, middle, and last rapes, while fewer rapists reported their crimes as being impulsive (15-22%) or opportunistic (22-24%).Although no comparable data on serial rape are available, it is probable that the premeditation involved in these crimes is particularly characteristic of these serial rapists. It is also probable that this premeditation is reflective of their preferential interest in this type of crime and largely accounts for their ability to avoid detection. Continue reading