Criminal Profiling: A Continuing History

Date of this Version

January 2006

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Norris, Gareth (2006) Criminal Profiling: A Continuing History is a chapter in Serial Crime: Theoretical and Practical Issues in Behavioral Profiling, Petherick, Wayne, editor; Elsevier/Academic Press, Burlington, MA, 2006, Chapter 1, pp. 1-14.
To obtain a copy of this publication contact Elsevier Academic Press

2006 HERDC submission


To the viewer of Hollywood thrillers or television crime dramas, the notion that an offender can be characterized through their actions at the scene, with little or no forensic or other evidence, captivates one's attention. An air of mystique surrounds the profiler in these instances, normally a humble but troubled individual who possesses an innate ability to decipher behavioral cues ultimately leading to the capture of a suspect. Numerous other accounts on the accurate representation of profiling and its depiction in mainstream media precede this writing. The first attempts at profiling, however, could feasibly be attributed to early anthropologists such as Cesare Lombroso and his attempts to link physical attributes to criminal activity, and even to fictional characters such as Sherlock Holmes. Although these may fit into many of the definitions of what profiling aims to be, they are often too simplistic in their portrayal.

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