Profiling A Perpetrator & Distinguishing an M.O. From Signature


NEW NEWS: IRS releases 2017 Standard Mileage Rates for Business: 

  • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016



Based on crime scene evidence, one basic method of characterizing  offenders divides them into three categories:

  • Organized offenders: These criminals are more sophisticated in their approach, and their crimes show evidence of planning. These types tend to be of average or better intelligence, employed, and in active social relationships such as with spouses and families. Even though they’re driven by their fantasies, they maintain enough control to avoid being impulsive. They prepare and even rehearse. They tend to target specific victims or types of victims and use control measures such as restraints to maintain victim compliance. They bring the tools they need to gain access to and control of the victim and avoid leaving behind evidence. As killers, they generally hide or dispose of the body and are likely to have a dumpsite already selected.
  • Disorganized offenders: These criminals usually live alone or with a relative, possess lower-than-average intelligence, are unemployed or work at menial jobs, and often have mental illnesses. They act impulsively, or as if they have little control over their fantasy-driven needs. They rarely use ruses to gain the victim’s confidence, but rather attack with sudden violence, overwhelming the victim. The crime scene often is messy and chaotic. This type of offender doesn’t plan ahead or bring tools along, but rather uses whatever is handy. As killers, they typically leave the body at the scene and exert little effort to avoid leaving behind evidence. Some have sexual contact with the victim after killing him or her.
  • Mixed offenders: Some offenders leave behind mixed messages at crime scenes. They show evidence of planning and a sophisticated MO, but the assault itself may be frenzied or messy, which may indicate some control over deep-seated and violent fantasies.

Profilers have developed categories of descriptors, describe the types of individuals who commit the crimes. Some of the descriptors used in serial killer profiling are as follows:

  • Age: Most serial killers are in their 20s or 30s.
  • Sex: Almost all are male.
  • Race: Most don’t cross racial lines. That means, in general, White offenders kill Whites, while Black offenders kill Blacks.
  • Residency: Organized offenders may be married, have a family, and be well liked by their friends. Disorganized offenders, because of their mental instability and immaturity, tend to live alone or with a family member.
  • Proximity: The location of the perpetrator’s home in relationship to the crime scene is important. Most kill close to home, a factor that is particularly true with the first few victims. The area close to home is a comfort zone. With experience, however, the killer may move his predatory boundaries farther and farther from home.
  • Social skills: Killers who use a ruse to ensnare their victims, like Ted Bundy did, typically possess good social skills, whereas those who use a blitz-style attack are less comfortable with conversation.
  • Work and military histories: Organized offenders more often have a stable work history and are more likely to have left any military service with an honorable discharge. Disorganized offenders often are quite simply too unstable to hold a job in the long term or to complete military service.
  • Educational level: Organized offenders tend to have more schooling than their disorganized counterparts.

Using these descriptors, profilers can create a pretty good picture, or profile, of the type of person who likely committed the crime.

  • Method of entry
  • Tools that were used during the crime
  • Types of objects taken from the crime scene
  • Time of day the crime was committed
  • The perpetrator’s alibi
  • The perpetrator’s accomplices
  • Method of transportation to and from the scene
  • Unusual features of the crime, such as killing the family dog or leaving behind a note or object to taunt the police

In contrast to an MO, a signature is an act that has nothing to do with completing the crime or getting away with it. Signatures are important to the offender in some personal way. Torturing the victim, overkill, postmortem mutilation or posing, and the taking of souvenirs or trophies are signatures. These actions are driven by the killer’s psychological needs and fantasies.

Unlike an MO, a signature never changes. It may be refined over time, but the basic signature remains the same. For example, if a serial killer poses victims in a religious manner, praying or as a crucifix, details such as candles, crucifixes, or other ceremonial objects may be added later. The signature has changed, but its basic form and theme remain the same.

Obviously, a professional profiler should be contacted if you believe there is a need for such; the above is simply a broad explanation of criminal profiling.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.


Profiling A Person; Three Initial Basic Techniques and Crystal, the Personality-Determining App.


Before attempting to “read” someone, get yourself into the correct mindset.  Stay relaxed and remain fluid.  Be comfortable, sit back and let the cues come to you.

Also, compare the makeup of a person to an onion:

Define four layers of an onion about a person’s being. The deeper you get into the “onion” will determine how much you can read someone.

  • The skin: The interactions and conversations we have with others on a superficial level – such as someone we meet at the bus stop.
  • Second layer: People whom we appreciate or get to know better, such as co-workers or classmates, rather than a random stranger, is now allowed to comprehend you better due to the comfort and trust between your relationship you have with them.
  • Third layer: Relationship bonds, such as best friends and marriages.
  • The core: Each person has a “core”, where the thoughts and secrets aren’t shared with anyone but oneself.

Determine which layer you are addressing or analyzing within the following techniques.

The First Technique:  Observe Body Language 

 According to Psychology Today, words account for only seven percent of how we communicate whereas our body language (55 percent) and voice tone (30 percent) represent the rest.

1.  Pay Attention to Appearance
Is the subject wearing a suit (indicating that he is dressed for success), jeans and a sweatshirt (comfortable, casual), a ow-cut blouse (seductive) or a pendant such as a cross (spiritual)?

2.  Observe Posture
Does the subject hold her head up high, confident?  Does he cower when walking, indicating low self-esteem? Or do they swagger, a sign of a huge ego.

3.  Watch The Physical Movements

  • Leaning and Distance— Generally, we lean toward those we like and away from those we don’t.
  • Crossed arms and legs—This pose suggests defensiveness, anger, or self-protection. When people cross their legs they tend to point the toes of the top leg towards the person they are most at ease with.
  • Hiding one’s hands—When people place their hands in their laps, pockets, or put them behind their back it suggests that they are hiding something.
  • Lip biting or cuticle picking—When people bite or lick their lips or pick their cuticles they are trying to soothe themselves under pressure.

The Second Technique: Listen to Your Intuition

Draw into your empathetic ability and tune into someone’s core.  Beyond what someone is saying, is what that person is thinking and feeling.  Intuition is the nonverbal communication that involuntarily occurs between human beings.  A person’s exterior tells a story, his interior puts that story into perspective.  Looking for the intuitive cues.

Intuitive Cues

1. Heed your gut

When meeting someone, especially for the first time, a visceral reaction occurs before you have a chance to think. It is a survival instinct that tells you  whether you can trust this person or not – your own internal truth meter.

2. Pay attention to flashes of insight

In conversation, you may get an “ah-ha” moment about someone which comes to you in a flash.  Try to embed that moment into a memory that you can revisit later to further analyze the information gathered leading to that intense feeling of clarity.

3. Watch for intuitive empathy

During an empath probe, you may actually feel your own body reacting to a verbal or non-verbal cue.  You can feel a sympathetic pain from a story told to you (the subject relays a childhood memory of a broken arm; you, involved in a similar injury, recall that painful memory) or feel mildly depressed after being with someone who is unusually withdrawn or depressed themselves.  Identify your intuitive empathetic responses and separate them from your subject.

The Third Technique. Reading Emotional Energy

What the Chinese refer to as someone’s “chi”, we refer to as that person’s “energy”.  We have all encountered people with a positive energy; they are fun and energizing to be around, as we have those emit negative energy, that which can make others in its presence feel drained, tired and emotionally void.  Emotions are a stunning barometer of one’s energy.

1.  Sense people’s presence

Analyze the overall energy atmosphere of your subject (regardless of words or behavior).  Do they have a welcoming presence or do they give you the willies?

2.  Watch people’s eyes

Our eyes transmit powerful energies. Studies indicate that the eyes project an electromagnetic energy similar to that emitting by the brain.  Watch people’s eyes.  Are they guarded or open?  Are they compassionate, caring or angry?  Try as one might to disguise one’s feelings, flashes of true emotion will inevitably appear in one’s eyes.

3. Notice the feel of a handshake, hug, and touch.

Physical contact is a shared emotional exchange – producing energy much like an electrical current. How does the handshake “feel” to you?  Warm, comfortable, confident, withdrawn, anxious, non-committal or timid? Bearing in mind that certain people can wilfully moderate the energy that they project, no one can exercise that type of control 24/7.

4. Listen To The Tone of Voice and of Laughter

Sound frequencies create vibrations. Emotions affect the sound emitted.  When reading people, pay attention to how the tone of their voice or laughter affects you.  Does it appear natural, comforting, energizing or abrasive, angry or whiny?

Wrap up: When beginning to profile a subject, again, let the answers come to you naturally.  Trust your instincts, especially the initial reactions and let the person unfold in front of you.  If the subject attempts to “play” you, if you are centered, she can’t subvert your innate reactions – your instinct belongs to you and you, uniquely, alone.

Finally, we’ve been working with the beta version of Crystal Knows – an app that determines others personalities – primarily geared for business relationships and synches well with LinkedIn – that is scary accurate.  Give Crystal a try and see for yourself.

BNI OPeratives: Situationally aware.

As always, be safe.