Criminal Profiling is bogus by Malcolm Gladwell

I have always been a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker articles. He is the quintessential eclectic modern day intellectual. His recent article on criminal profiling is a case in point. He uses engaging anecdotes to count the history of criminal profiling, leaving little doubt by the end of the story that the process is fraught with error and misleading.

Read the article at:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/11/12/071112fa_fact_gladwell

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  • I like his work to. Watch a presentation of his on TED.com last night. (A site just full to the brim of great knowledge)

  • Any chance you can enlighten as to why you have a problem with criminal profiling? I’ve found there are a great deal of very standard predictable human patterns of behavior. Would it not follow that profiling in some form or another would have some merit if only as a guide? And by nature there would be spurious results. However as with Robert X Cringleys predictions ….to get a 60% hit rate is phenomenal and not to be poo poo’d. ( compared with an Eskimo that would hit 0% assuming we drug him out of the artic ) I admit I have not read his arty. However I have trouble managing to get through NYker arties. The schmultzy cartoons stop me at the git go.

  • Personally I agree, but only slightly. Profiling is useful but it also can be used as a crutch for lazy and biased detective work. For example, if your married and your spouse has been killed or has vanished, consider yourself the prime suspect, and if “they” believe you are the perpetrator yet do not have enough evidence to support their case. They consider the case solved. Even though I believe O.J killed his wife, police admitted that they did not investigate other possibilities after suspecting him, which by the way was after the first 4 hours. So consider, your child or spouse has vanished, and never getting any resolve to your grief because the authorities won’t consider investigating ANYONE OTHER THAN YOU.