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When we investigate crime, we use every legitimate tool at our disposal to narrow the list of potential suspects so we can identify, find and arrest those responsible for the crimes, to bring them to justice and to keep them from committing more acts against society.
Criminal profiling can assist us by narrowing the field of potential suspects in major criminal investigations. Based on current and historical law enforcement investigative knowledge and experience, we scrutinize a set of facts and factors common to specific (e.g., serial murder with a certain 'signature') or general (e.g., narcotics trafficking) criminal activity. From these facts and factors, we may be able to identify a type of person or group of people by gender, age, race, and/or by personality, social, and/or other characteristics who are most likely to be involved. This can result in fewer suspects to consider and a quicker resolution to the case.
While criminal profiling does add elements (such as gender, race, or ethnicity) to a list of factors scrutinized to identify a suspect, these elements are only parts of several pieces of the puzzle that police must put together to solve crime.