The Fallacy of Accuracy in Criminal Profiling

Wayne Petherick, Bond University

Document Type Book Chapter

Petherick, Wayne (2006) The Fallacy of Accuracy in Criminal Profiling is a chapter in Serial Crime: Theoretical and Practical Issues in Behavioral Profiling, Petherick, Wayne, editor; Elsevier / Academic Press, Burlington, MA, 2006, Chapter 4, pp. 53-64.
To obtain a copy of this publication contact Elsevier Academic Press

2006 HERDC submission


The defining criterion by which the utility of a particular tool is often judged is its accuracy or sensitivity of detection. We place little faith in that which is inaccurate, or in those things that do not detect what they are meant to. Things are no different in the profiling community, and the most common measure by which a profiler claims utility is how close his or her approximations are to an offender, if one is caught. As will be shown in this chapter, with the craft being the way it is, this is probably the worst possible way to declare one's success or prowess.


This document has been peer reviewed.