Criminal Profiling

Criminal Profiling Course - self paced training for anyone working with crime - from crime writers to security guards. Understand characteristics criminal behaviour, from soft crime to the most extreme.

Course Code: BPS227
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn to Understand the Criminal Mind

Crime isn't always extreme, nor is it always committed with serious, thought out intent. People may abuse others in a momentary loss of self control. Crimes can vary from soft crimes such as illegal possession of drugs to petty theft or slander; through to serious crimes such as murder and sex trafficking.

Criminals can be motivated by many things from personality defects or mental illness through to circumstances beyond their control.  Knowing the motivation that drives a criminals actions can be key to reducing criminal activity.

Why Study this Course?

Criminals disrupt society and the lives of those who do follow the rules. Any well structured society will have developed not only laws to be followed, but methods to minimise the disruption caused by crime. Those methods can include

  • Crime Prevention
  • Law Enforcement
  • Punishment
  • Criminal Rehabilitation


Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Criminal Profiling
    • Types of crime
    • Jack the ripper
    • FBI behavioural science unit
    • What is criminal profiling?
    • Intelligence profiling
    • Other related terms
    • Investigative psychology
    • Crime scene profiling/crime scene analysis profiling
    • Premeditation
    • Crime of passion
    • MMPI
    • Victimology
    • Linkage analysis
    • Modus operandi
    • Signature behaviour
    • The criminal profiling process
    • What is included in a profile?
    • How are criminal profiles used?
    • Role of profiling
    • Who uses profiling?
    • Contributions of psychologists, psychiatrists
  2. Profiling Methods
    • Top down
    • Bottom up
    • Nomothetic vs. Idiographic profiling
    • Organised and disorganised offenders
    • Behavioural evidence analysis
    • Forensic analysis
    • Victimology
    • Crime analysis
    • Offender characteristics
    • Investigative psychology: statistical approach
    • Behavioural investigative advice
    • Geographical profiling
    • The main concepts of geographical profiling
  3. Crime Scene Analysis
    • Crime scene evidence
    • Crime scene location
    • Crime scene type
    • Choice of victim
    • Targeted victim
    • Opportunistic victim
    • Method of approach
    • Method of attack
    • Force
    • Method of control
    • Patterns and linkages
    • Method of operating
    • Signature
    • Case linkages
    • Writing a crime scene analysis
  4. Offender Characteristics
    • Who commits crimes?
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Relationships
    • Mental illness
    • Mental health and crime
    • Psychopathy
    • Sadism
    • Learning disabilities and crime
    • Gender and crime
    • Why are men more likely to commit crimes?
    • The general theory of crime
    • Nature & nurture
    • Sociological theories of why men commit more crimes than women
    • Sociobiological and evolutionary theories
    • Stereotyping and generalisations
    • Motives
    • Motivation
    • Understanding motive
    • Rapist motivational typology
  5. Victimology
    • Understanding victim profiles
    • Goal of forensic victimology
    • Victim backgrounds
    • Victim biases
    • Exposure of victims to crime
    • Lifestyle factors
    • Traits
    • Behaviours
    • Professions
    • Situational factors
    • Victim timelines
    • Case study – knife crime
    • Victims of serial killers
    • Offender-victim relationships
    • Problems with victim profiling
    • Incorrect profile
    • Stereotyping and generalisations
    • Reliability
  6. Offender Profiling - Sexual Crimes
    • Serial crimes
    • Types of sex crimes
    • Rape
    • Power reassurance type
    • Power assertive type
    • Anger retaliatory type
    • Anger excitement type (sadistic)
    • Serial rape
    • The use of profiling in rape cases
    • Finding the offender
    • Profiling rapists
    • Sexual murder
    • Cannibalism sexual murder
  7. Offender Profiling – Violent Crimes
    • Murder
    • Anger
    • Profit
    • Ideology
    • Mental illness
    • Serial killers or serial murderers
    • Visionary killers
    • Missionary killers
    • Hedonistic killers
    • Control or power killers
    • Organised killers
    • Disorganised Killers
    • Mixed killers
    • Stages of serial killing
    • Mass murder
    • Types of mass killers
    • Pseudo commando
    • Disciple
    • Disgruntled employee
    • Family annihilator
    • Set and run killer
    • Genocide
    • Terrorism
  8. Offender Profiling – White-Collar Crimes
    • Blackmail and extortion
    • Intimidation
    • Cybercrime
    • Phishing scams
    • Identity theft
    • Intellectual property infringement
    • Cyberstalking
    • Online harassment
    • Hacking
    • Fraud
    • Insurance reports
    • Unlawful sackings
    • Arson
    • Common profiles of white-collar offenders
    • Shoplifter profiler
    • Offender profile – hackers
  9. Offender Profiling – Victimless Crimes, Consensual Crimes and Other Crimes
    • Theft & robbery crime
    • Workplace bullying
    • Corporal punishment
    • Domestic violence
    • Initiation ceremonies
    • Hazing
    • Self-defence
    • Neighbourhood disputes
    • Softer crimes
    • Case studies
    • The case of the Unabomber (Ted Kaczynski)
    • The case of the Beltway Snipers (John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo)
    • The case of the Boston Strangler (Albert Desalvo)
  10. Profiling in Action
    • Profiling in action – Jeffrey Dahmer
    • Gathering information
    • Writing reports for divorce cases
    • Criminal profiling as expert witness testimony
    • Jury decision-making
    • Accuracy issues
    • Public perception
    • Miscarriage of justice in criminal profiling
    • The case of Richard Jewell (1996)
    • The case of Colin Stagg (1992)
    • The case of Ronald Cotton (1984)
    • The case of Gary Dotson (1977)
    • Why is criminal profiling important to society as a whole?
    • Outlook on profiling
    • Uses of profiling
    • The future of criminal profiling
    • Criminal profiling and artificial intelligence

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Describe the nature and scope of criminal profiling.
  • Explain different methods used for criminal profiling.
  • Describe how a crime scene may be analysed.
  • Describe criminal offender characteristics.
  • Describe different types of victims.
  • Describe the common profiles of sex crime offenders and victim profiles.
  • Describe the common profiles of violent crime offenders.
  • Describe common profiles of white-collar crime offenders.
  • Apply criminal profiling to victimless crimes, consensual crimes, and other crimes.
  • Discuss the application of criminal profiling, and its importance to society.



This course may be used as PD training for employees; or as  preparation for seeking employment in a wide range of situations including:

  • Security Guards
  • Crime writers
  • News reporters for print or broadcast media
  • Bouncers at a nightclub
  • Private Investigators
  • Insurance Agents investigating the validity of claims
  • Cybersecurity professionals
  • Social workers
  • Welfare workers
  • Law firm staff
  • Law enforcement officers and Prison guards 



Criminal profiling has been described in various ways by different people - academics, investigators, crime writers, and law enforcement through to criminal support services. Essentially it involves assessing and interpreting behaviours or actions at a crime scene and using that information to attempt to predict the likely characteristics of the offender or offenders. 

Basically, we look at what the person has done at the crime scene/scenes and use that to develop a profile of who they are and the type of crimes they may commit in the future.  John MacDonald of the University of Colorado stated that children who were cruel to animals, bedwetting and fire-starting were demonstrating a triad of behaviours, known as the MacDonald triad, or the Homicidal Triad. These behaviours were thought to indicate that a child would be cruel to humans later in their life, likely a serial killer or violent murderer.  

Information like this is useful in profiling. For example, if an investigator found that a child was harming animals, and the other factors were also in place, it could indicate a more serious problem in the future. So, a simplistic example, finding a harmed animal at a crime scene could be an indicator or something far worse in the future.
Those characteristics from crime scenes are what is used to create a criminal profile.

Types of Crime

Criminologists argue that there are five main types of crime –

  • Violent crime, such as murder, rape and assault
  • Property crime, such as arson or vandalism
  • White collar crime, such as fraud
  • Organised crime, such as drug selling
  • Consensual and victimless crimes
This course deals with all of these, and from the softer petty criminal activity through to most extreme and serious crimes.


Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
 Principal John Mason is a member of the ANZMH. ACS Students are invited to join
Principal John Mason is a member of the ANZMH. ACS Students are invited to join

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