An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis
by Brent E. Turvey,
Please note: for
information on the current edition of this textbook, please see:
Criminal Profiling, 2nd Edition
by Dr. Richard Saferstein, author of Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensic Science & editor of The Forensic Science Handbook, Vol. 1-3.
Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis is first and foremost a book organized and designed to instruct on the subject of its title. It was the movie The Silence of the Lambs, that widely popularized the role of the criminal profiler in a law-enforcement setting, and it is talk TV and radio that has now nourished its reputation and public acceptance as an integral component of the criminal-investigation process. For forensic scientists, such as myself, profiling is a curiosity of sorts. Is this just another ploy by wannabe scientists looking for acceptance and recognition, or is the profiler a legitimate adjunct to the criminal investigative process? As with any new endeavor, the answers are not clear cut. Often the power of personality and individual charisma, along with the old-boy network has determined whether profiling information will be sought in an investigation, and just who will provide the service. Nevertheless, the passage of time has had the effect of imposing discipline and order on the profiling profession.
Criminal Profiling amply demonstrates that this endeavor is emerging as a legitimate adjunct to crime-investigation services, but with the caveat often cited by the author that profiling is a discipline that demands adherence to the principles of team work between all the elements of the investigation. I find it particularly gratifying that the author places great emphasis on the necessity for the profiler to thoroughly evaluate physical evidence which has been properly analyzed in a scientific setting. Likewise, the author places strong emphasis on the requirement to evaluate information derived from a systematic reconstruction of the crime scene. While such efforts certainly are necessary adjuncts to reduce the subjectivity associated with criminal profiling, the reader is being continually reminded throughout the book that profiling is ultimately an art dependent on the experiences and expertise of the profiler.
Through the efforts of Brent Turvey and other professionals, criminal profiling is materializing into a structured discipline amenable to the confines of the classroom. Now this certainly does not mean that the reader can expect to complete this book and wear the garb of an instant expert. Years of practical investigative experience is an essential ingredient of the successful profiler. Nevertheless, the legitimization of criminal profiling as a profession demands that it has strong and acceptable academic underpinnings. Criminal Profiling satisfies those objectives.
Criminal Profiling is a serious and long-overdue effort at structuring a body of knowledge into a cohesive subject. Brent Turvey has provided the reader with a roadmap to comprehending the principles underlying criminal profiling. The knowledge gleaned from this book can only strengthen the foundational skills of the prospective and active criminal investigator.
- Richard Saferstein, Ph.D.
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