Recent Presentations: Criminal Profiling

Recent Presentations: Criminal Profiling

Paul Lobb talked about criminal profiling to Bishopsteignton Probus Club, covering early developments in USA and UK police forces, outlining various elements and using case studies to show how it helps solve crimes.

The Mad Bomber of New York eluded identification when he planted many bombs from 1936 to 1956 when the police turned to psychiatrist James Brussell who studied the relevant crime scene photos and other evidence.  He came up with a detailed description of the suspect: he would be in his fifties, neat and tidy, of Eastern descent, exemplary employee, single, living with an elderly female relative, etc.   He explained how each fact reflected either common sense or theories drawn from psychology.   Several police officers thought the psychiatrist was as mad as the bomber until the profile proved correct; it led police straight to Metesky who was arrested and confessed.

This phenomenal success led to further research in the USA and UK involving ideas drawn from behavioural psychology and actual crimes, leading to various profiling approaches which offer a method of identifying the most likely type of person that committed the crime.  Paul Lobb’s comprehensive account showed how profiling significantly improves police effectiveness.  The national agency to which Paul belonged played a major role in this improvement and in 2013 it was absorbed into the new National Crime Agency, created to help tackle organised crime groups.

Paul Lobb (left) is thanked by Probus Club former chairman Ian Doddrell.