With regard to the nature of crime, the various media have contributed to the blurring of fact and fiction. As a result, notions about the causes of criminal behavior have become distorted. In reality, people commit crimes simply because they chose to do so. The commission of a criminal act is not the result of behavior that suddenly happens. Criminals deliberately choose their course of action long before the subsequent act occurs. Yet, due to mass confusion, contemporary society deals with criminal behavior by explaining away such occurrences. A criminal act is seen as something abnormal and out of the scheme of “normal good” human behavior. Excuses abound and criminal behavior theory is typically pronounced in ways that are confusing and erroneous. As such, criminal behavior theory tends to revolve around therapeutic intervention, rehabilitation strategies and socio-political policy. Instead of assessing the poor choices people have the freedom to make, the external environment is examined to “justify” the aberrant behavior. And, although environment may be influential some degree, anyone can come up with an array of excuses. Such notions present scenarios where it is all too easy to mitigate criminal behavior on the basis of psychological dysfunction or oppressive social conflicts. The cops’ job is compounded by mixed messages, faulty intervention, misguided politicians and media distortions.
In short, criminal behavior assessment strategies must include good tactics. Criminals, like the rest of us, know exactly what they are doing. Their motives, means and methods are predetermined by them. Criminals basically control every aspect of their criminal behavior actions. They select their targets based on opportunity and the skill-sets they possess. Crimes are committed by people who seek personal gain for one reason or another. Solving the crimes that criminals commit requires a Holmesian eye for details and valid and perceptive interpretation. Good cops are effective and efficient problem solvers. They gather the facts and discount nothing until the evidence demonstrates otherwise. Figuring out the “why done it” of a criminal incident, and then following the leads to the “who done it” conclusion, requires patience and perseverance. There are no magic formulas or psychics to consult. It’s just a matter of applying experience, education and skills to the deductive process of careful investigation. Crime fighting is a continuum of painstaking observation and artful application of professional abilities. Profiling, for example, is only one imperfect tool among many tools. Criminal behavior analysis and subsequent criminal apprehension is an interdisciplinary continuum. The process draws on many aspects from autopsy to zoology. Assessment strategies must be proactively engaged in the evaluation of possible linkages between people, places and things. Assessing criminal behavior is an open minded part of the investigative process. Thinking skill, as related to all the possibilities, is a basic requirement. This is applied in contrast to drawing pre-judgmental conclusions. Suspending the inclination to make a snap judgment is important. Naturally, there is a tendency to play the odds and consider statistical measures of one sort or another. Yet, to hunt down criminals, proactive strategies are essential. An evolution in thinking must occur. Simplistic reasons about criminal behavior and the commission of crimes must be radically altered.
Case linkages, interviews and interrogations, science and technology must work together. Essentially, the fundamental characteristics of an investigation revolve around three basic concepts: information, interrogation and instrumentation. These basic principles are supported by other aspects that reinforce the process by which solutions are probable.
Criminal methods of operation become unique to the individual, although there may be general similarities. Each criminal may aspire to one level of society or another based on their behavior tendencies. His or her methods may be stifled or enhanced depending on education, training, fantasy, lifestyle, desire, ability and opportunity. He or she generally assesses the event based on a win or lose approach. This part pertains to the gain minus the risks involved in the commission of the incident. People tend to use what they know. They express their basic capabilities in their actions. We often apply our individual skill set depending on what we have learned. Criminals will pursue the path of least risk and resistance. Motive, means and method are still basic to solving acts of criminal behavior. As such, skills and abilities vary from one person to the next. Criminals choose to commit crimes because somebody else has something they want. Current sociological explanations for criminal behavior are far too general. Notions as to motive and intent are blurred by simplistic single causation theories and easy explanations.